Isha Upanishad

© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 2003 Published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication Department Printed at Sri Aurobindo Ashram Press, Pondicherry


Isha Upanishad


Publisher’s Note
This volume contains Sri Aurobindo’s translations of and commentaries on the Isha Upanishad. His translations of and commentaries on other Upanishads and Vedantic texts, and his writings on the Upanishads and Vedanta philosophy in general, are published in Kena and Other Upanishads, volume 18 of THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SRI AUROBINDO. The present volume is divided into two parts. The first consists of Sri Aurobindo’s final translation and analysis of the Isha Upanishad. This is the only work in this volume that was published during his lifetime. It contains his definitive interpretation of the Isha Upanishad. Before publishing this final translation and analysis, Sri Aurobindo wrote ten incomplete commentaries on the Isha Upanishad. These appear in approximate chronological order in Part Two. Ranging in length from a few pages to more than a hundred, they show the development of his interpretation of this Upanishad from around 1900 to the middle of 1914, when he began work on his final translation and analysis. The texts in both parts have been checked against the relevant manuscript and printed versions.

Guide to Editorial Notation
The contents of Part Two of this volume were never prepared by Sri Aurobindo for publication. They have been transcribed from manuscripts that sometimes present textual difficulties. In this edition these problems have been indicated as far as possible by means of the notation shown below. Notation [.......] Textual Problem Word(s) lost through damage to the manuscript (at the beginning of a piece, sometimes indicates that a page or pages of the manuscript have been lost) Word(s) omitted by the author or lost through damage to the manuscript that are required by grammar or sense, and that could be supplied by the editors Situations requiring textual explication; all such information is printed in italics



Part One Translation and Commentary Published by Sri Aurobindo Isha Upanishad Part Two Incomplete Commentaries from Manuscripts Isha Upanishad: All that is world in the Universe The Ishavasyopanishad with a commentary in English The Karmayogin: A Commentary on the Isha Upanishad Ish and Jagat The Secret of the Isha Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad The Upanishad in Aphorism The Life Divine [Draft A] The Life Divine [Draft B] The Life Divine [Draft C] 95 101 169 303 307 311 351 361 429 551 3


Sri Aurobindo in 1908

Part One Translation and Commentary Published by Sri Aurobindo

Isha Upanishad .


and not refraining from them”.Isha Upanishad IfA vA-yEmd sv yt Ek c jg(yA jgt. The first is the ordinarily accepted meaning. Life on earth and beyond and the supreme Immortality. 2 Kurvanneva. Shankara explains it in this significance. The latter significance agrees better with the thought of the Upanishad. “Thus in thee — it is not otherwise than thus — action ¯. God and the World. by the perception of essential Unity. “evil action”. of the apparently incompatible opposites.. So explained the first line becomes a contradiction of the whole thought of the Upanishad which teaches the reconciliation. the Knowledge and the Ignorance. By that renounced thou shouldst enjoy. but the second karma in exactly the opposite sense. action cleaves not to a man. the enlightened soul abandons works and the world and goes to the forest. that we must lose the sense of this unreal objective universe in the sole perception of the pure Brahman. The verse. whatsoever is individual universe of movement in the universal motion. Doing verily2 works in this world one should wish to live a hundred years. Thus it is in thee and not otherwise than this. cleaves not. he tells us. the Becoming and the Not-Becoming. represents a concession to the ignorant. The whole expression and construction in this rendering become forced and unnatural. 3 Shankara reads the line. a man. . \ \ ^ ^ tn (y?tn B jFTA mA gD. The stress of the word eva gives the force. All this is for habitation1 by the Lord.” He interprets karmani in the first line in the sense of Vedic sacrifices which are permitted to the ignorant as a means of escaping from evil actions and their results and attaining to heaven. Renunciation and Enjoyment. kv vh kmAEZ EjjFEvqQCt smA. “doing works indeed. Action and internal Freedom. “to be clothed”. “to be worn as a garment” ¯ and “to be inhabited”. ev (vEy nA yTto_E-t n km El=yt nr 2 \ 2.3 1 There are three possible senses of vasyam. the One and the Many. ^ 1. lust not after any man’s possession. k-yE-vd Dnm 1 ^ . The image is of the world either as a garment or as a dwelling-place for the informing and governing Spirit. Being and its Becomings. The rendering I give seems to me the simple and straightforward sense of the Upanishad. the passive divine Impersonality and the active divine Personality. \ .

the right significance of the word in the Upanishad. the liquid. Shankara. in the thought structure of the Upanishad. we may take it as the singular apas. anjdk mnso jvFyo nnd dvA aA=nvn pvmqt. Sunless4 are those worlds and enveloped in blind gloom whereto all they in their passing hence resort who are slayers of their souls. The sun and his rays are intimately connected in other Upanishads also with the worlds of Light and their natural opposite is the dark and sunless. the physical. renders it by the plural. That the Gods reach not. It is a Vedic epithet of the God Vayu. Prana. This is. The difficulty only arises because the true Vedic sense of the word had been forgotten and it came to be taken as referring to the fourth of the five elemental states of Matter. extends himself in Matter and vivifies its forms.. 5 Matari´ van seems to mean “he who extends himself in the Mother or the container” ¯ s whether that be the containing mother element. action. can mean only “waters”. passes beyond others as they run. who. ^ ^ td DAvto_ yAn(yEt Et t tE-m po mAtEr vA dDAEt 4 ^ ^ 4. or the material energy called Earth in the Veda and spoken of there as the Mother. In That the Master of Life5 establishes the Waters. 6 Apas. Its suggestions are there taken up and worked out. One unmoving that is swifter than Mind. the divine Bliss. standing. 5 . 3 \ 3. Such a reference would be entirely irrelevant to the context. representing the divine principle in the Life-energy. \ { ^ . as it is accentuated in the version of the White Yajurveda. asurya. tA-t (yAEBgQCE t y k cA(mhno jnA. work. obviously. But the Waters. the starting-point for the final movement in the last four verses. three inferior. the divine Will and Consciousness. On this conception also is founded the ancient idea of the seven worlds in each of which the seven principles are separately active by their various harmonies. sunless. and the divine Being. ^ td tr-y sv-y td sv-yA-y bA t. and asurya. Ether. otherwise called the seven streams or the seven fostering Cows. four superior. which are recalled in the ninth and twelfth verses.6 Isha Upanishad: Part One asyA nAm t lokA a Dn tmsAvtA. That. not the Titanic worlds. Titanic or undivine. The prayer to the Sun refers back in thought to the sunless worlds and their blind gloom. The third ¯ verse is. for It progresses ever in front. 4 We have two readings. If this accentuation is disregarded. however. the divine Truth. vital and mental. works. Here. are the Vedic symbol for the seven cosmic principles and their activities. .6 tdjEt t {jEt td dr t E tk. it signifies the divine Life-power that presides in all forms of cosmic activity.

¯ thinker. yE-mn svAEZ BtAEn aA(mvABd EvjAnt. how shall he be deluded. . k. The Seer. literally. But he who sees everywhere the Self in all existences and all existences in the Self. fok ek(vmnp yt. 7 The words sarvani bhutani. ¯ ¯ ¯ but its literal sense is evidently insisted on in the expression bhutani abhut “became the Becomings”.7 for he has the perfect knowledge. the latter the labouring mentality which works from the divided consciousness through the possibilities of things downward to the actual manifestation in form and upward to their reality in the self-existent Brahman.8 the One who becomes everywhere. 6. } \ . That is within all this and That also is outside all this. It is He that has gone abroad — That which is bright. the seer. the Thinker. are opposed to ¯. ^ kEvmnFqF pErB. . without sinews. shrinks not thereafter from aught. 7. The idea is the acquisition in man of the supreme consciousness by which the one Self in him extends itself to embrace all creatures and realises the eternal act by which that One manifests itself in the multiple forms of the universal motion. The former indicates the divine supra-intellectual Knowledge which by direct vision and illumination sees the reality. bodiless. That moves and That moves not. the principles and the forms of things in their true relations. . 8 There is a clear distinction in Vedic thought between kavi. The phrase means ordinarily “all creatures”. He in whom it is the Self-Being that has become all existences that are Becomings..Isha Upanishad: Text and Translation 7 5. 7 . y-t svAEZ BtAEn aA(m yvAnp yEt. “all things that have become”. . -vyMByATAtLyto_TAn &ydDAQCA vtF<y. { ^ ^ t/ ko moh. svBtq cA(mAn tto n Evjg=st 6 \ . That is far and the same is near. ¯ ¯ Atman. the ı. unpierced by evil. and man¯sı. . self-existent and immutable being. 8 8. without scar of imperfection. pure. ^ smA<y. whence shall he have grief who sees everywhere oneness? s pygAQC mkAymvZm-nAEvr f mpApEv m. . the Self-existent has ordered objects perfectly according to their nature from years sempiternal.

Other. \ ^ aEv yA m(y tF(vA Ev yAmtm nt 11 \ . other that which comes by the Ignorance. tto By iv t tmo y u sMB(yA rtA. Into a blind darkness they enter who follow after the NonBirth. . 9 \ 9. sMBvAd ydAhrsMBvAt. iEt f . would be an obvious commonplace announced with an exaggerated pompousness. The ordinary rendering. . 13.” We have the explanation of anyad in the verse that follows.9 it is said. the Knowledge and the Ignorance.8 Isha Upanishad: Part One a D tm. m DFrAZA y n-td EvccE"r 10 \ ^ . 10. a D tm. 11. “Knowledge has one result. 9 Anyadeva — eva here gives to anyad the force. \ . Other. . Into a blind darkness they enter who follow after the Ignorance. . by the Ignorance crosses beyond death and by the Knowledge enjoys Immortality. “Quite other than the result described in the preceding verse is that to which lead the Knowledge and the Ignorance. verily. adding nothing to the thought and without any place in the sequence of the ideas. . 12 \ 12. \ . m DFrAZA y n-td EvccE"r 13 \ ^ . is that which comes by the Birth. Ignorance another”. EvfE t y_Ev AmpAst. He who knows That as both in one. iEt f . it is said. EvfE t y_sMBEtmpAst. verily. a ydvAh. a ydvAhEv yA a ydAhrEv yA. they as if into a greater darkness who devote themselves to the Birth alone. tto By iv t tmo y u Ev AyA rtA. Ev A c aEv A c y-td vdoBy sh. they as if into a greater darkness who devote themselves to the Knowledge alone. this is the lore we have received from the wise who revealed That to our understanding. ^ . is that which comes by the Knowledge.

so_hmE-m 16 . A luminous power proceeding from the Father of all existence. Controller or Ordainer. 14. that do thou remove. O Ordainer. marshal thy rays. 16. ^ tjo yt t !p kSyAZtm tt t p yAEm \ \ ^ ^ yo_sAvsO pzq. He is Yama. but become deflected and distorted. satyadharma. .Isha Upanishad: Text and Translation 9 other that which comes by the Non-Birth. His principal power is self-revelatory knowledge. by the dissolution crosses beyond death and by the Birth enjoys Immortality. \ ^ EvnAfn m(y tF(vA sMB(yAmtm nt 14 . represents the divine Illumination of the Kavi which exceeds mind and forms the pure self-luminous Truth of things. The face of Truth is covered with a brilliant golden lid. yathatathyatah. he reveals in himself the divine Purusha of whom all beings are the manifestations. Seer of Oneness and Knower of the Self. . Mind. the Vast.10 for the law of the Truth. pq kq ym sy AjAp(y &yh r mFn smh. O Fosterer. for sight. for he enlarges and opens man’s dark and limited being into a luminous and infinite consciousness. His rays are the thoughts that proceed luminously from the Truth. He is the sole Seer. ^ tt (v pq pAvZ s(yDmAy d y 15 ^ \ . sMBEt c EvnAf c y-td vdoBy sh. O Fosterer. the Vast. for he governs man’s action and manifested being by the direct Law of the Truth. and leads him to the highest Sight. Ehr myn pA/Z s(y-yAEpEht mKm. \ . O illumining Sun. His realm is described as the Truth. They form there the golden lid which covers the face of the Truth. 15. the Lustre which is thy most blessed form 10 In the inner sense of the Veda Surya. O sole Seer.\ . this is the lore we have received from the wise who revealed That to our understanding. He is the Fosterer or Increaser. The Seer prays to Surya to cast them into right order and relation and then draw them together into the unity of revealed truth. The result of this inner process is the perception of the oneness of all beings in the divine Soul of the Universe. and therefore by the right principle of our ¯ ¯ nature. the Law. termed in the Veda “Sight”. the Birth and the dissolution of Birth. O power of the Father of creatures. broken up and disordered in the reflecting and dividing principle. the Sun-God. draw together thy light. He who knows That as both in one.

12 The Vedic term kratu means sometimes the action itself. from which this verse is taken bodily. sometimes the effective power behind action represented in mental consciousness by the will. in the conception of the Veda. road or road of naturally increasing light and truth. vrjinani). rtasya panthah. a`n ny spTA rAy a-mAn Ev vAEn dv vynAEn Ev An. . that which was done remember. of the sacrifice or worship itself. ^ . leading over infinite levels and towards infinite vistas. is that which excites and hurries the faculties into deviation from the good path. that which was done remember! O Will. that in Thee I behold. Agni is this power. . The Breath of things11 is an immortal Life. In the light of Surya he reveals himself as an immortal principle of existence of which birth and death and life in the body are only particular and external processes. but of this body ashes are the end. Agni. the disposal of the offerings to the God and. ^ : to -mr kt -mr to -mr kt -mr 17 \ \ 17. He is divine force which manifests first in matter as heat and light and material energy and then. \ \ .13 To thee completest speech of submission we would dispose. ^ yyo@y-m>jhrAZmno BEy A t nmuE?t EvDm 18 \ \ .10 Isha Upanishad: Part One of all. remember. free from internal opposition. ¯ of our nature should normally take us towards our fulfilment. the Life-Energy in the universe. 13 Sin. v¯tani prsthani.12 remember. . OM! O Will. ¯. That state of beatitude is intended. self-content in the principle of pure Love and Joy. . . rjuh panthah. There is a straight ¯. He am I. . it may lead the soul of man through the truth ¯ towards a felicity full of the spiritual riches. ¯ 14 The word vidhema is used of the ordering of the sacrifice. . leads him by a progressive manifestation upwards to the Truth and the Bliss. Here the offering is that of completest submission and the self-surrender of all the faculties of the lower egoistic human nature to the divine Will-force. The Purusha there and there. raye. O god Agni. lead us by the good path to the felicity. so that. internal and external obeisance. . vAyrEnlmmtmTd B-mA t frFrm.14 11 Vayu. remove from us the devious attraction of sin. which the Vedic initiates regarded as the source of the divine existence in the universe and the foundation of the divine life in the human being. taking different forms in the other principles of man’s consciousness.. knowing all things that are manifested. Sin compels it instead to travel with stumblings amid uneven and limited tracts and along crooked windings ¯ (duritani. 18. called elsewhere Matarishwan. . is the symbol of submission to the divine Being in ourselves and in the world. generally. It is the deformation of this principle by egoism which appears as desire and the lust of possession in the lower worlds. The Vedic namas. by which the law ı ¯ .

Analysis .


supply the necessary transitions and bring out the suppressed but always implicit reasoning. not submitting the ideas to the judgment of the logical reason. or rather the hearer. is worked out symmetrically in four successive movements of thought. The reader. the reasoning also that supports its conclusions is suggested by the words. line 1) On this conception the rule of a divine life for man is founded. composed for seekers who had already a general familiarity with the ideas of the Vedic and Vedantic seers and even some personal experience of the truths on which they were founded. To the modern mind this method is invalid and inapplicable. (Verse 1. — enjoyment of all by renunciation of all through the exclusion of desire. Every verse in the Isha Upanishad reposes on a number of ideas implicit in the text but nowhere set forth explicitly. The central idea of the Upanishad. being vehicles of illumination and not of instruction. a basis is laid down by the idea of the one and stable Spirit inhabiting and governing a universe of movement and of the forms of movement. dispense in their style with expressed transitions of thought and the development of implied or subordinate notions.PREFATORY Plan of the Upanishad T HE UPANISHADS. (Verse 1. line 2) . confirming his intuitions and verifying by his experience. was supposed to proceed from light to light. FIRST MOVEMENT In the first. which is a reconciliation and harmony of fundamental opposites. not expressly conveyed to the intelligence. it is necessary to present the ideas of the Upanishad in their completeness. underline the suggestions.

but with an entire freedom from grief and illusion. (Verses 9 – 14) . (Verse 2) Finally. amidst all the activity of the multiple movement. 5) The basis and fulfilment of the rule of life are found in the experience of unity by which man identifies himself with the cosmic and transcendental Self and is identified in the Self. (Verse 8) Vidya and Avidya. Becoming and Non-becoming are reconciled by their mutual utility to the progressive self-realisation which proceeds from the state of mortality to the state of Immortality. the unity and stability are the higher truth and who contains all as well as inhabits all. 7) THIRD MOVEMENT In the third movement there is a return to the justification of life and works (the subject of verse 2) and an indication of their divine fulfilment. with all its becomings. one with the Lord. The one stable Lord and the multiple movement are identified as one Brahman of whom. (Verses 6. (Verses 4. (Verse 3) SECOND MOVEMENT In the second movement the ideas of the first verse are resumed and amplified. however. the result of an ignorant interference with the right manifestation of the One in the multiplicity is declared to be an involution in states of blind obscurity after death. The degrees of the Lord’s self-manifestation in the universe of motion and in the becomings of the one Being are set forth and the inner law of all existences declared to be by His conception and determination.14 Isha Upanishad: Part One There is then declared the justification of works and of the physical life on the basis of an inalienable freedom of the soul.

and the state after death (Verse 18) are symbolically indicated. the activities of this life (Verse 17). . 16).Isha Upanishad: Analysis FOURTH MOVEMENT 15 The fourth movement returns to the idea of the worlds and under the figures of Surya and Agni the relations of the Supreme Truth and Immortality (Verses 15.

is. Yet in their relation of principle of movement and result of movement they are continent and contained. COSMOS All world is a movement of the Spirit in Itself and is mutable and transient in all its formations and appearances. its only eternity is an eternity of recurrence. Doing verily works in this world one should wish to live a hundred years. Sunless are those worlds and enveloped in blind gloom whereto all they in their passing hence resort who are slayers of their souls. * 1. The individual therefore partakes of the nature of the universal.I FIRST MOVEMENT The Inhabiting Godhead: Life and Action Verses 1 – 3* THE BASIS OF COSMIC EXISTENCE God and the world. 3. world in world. whatsoever is individual universe of movement in the universal motion. action cleaves not to a man. All this is for habitation by the Lord. subject to its laws and part of cosmic Nature. its only stability a semblance caused by certain apparent fixities of relation and grouping. . as we say. in truth. 2. Every separate object in the universe is. itself the whole universe presenting a certain front or outward appearance of its movement. By that renounced thou shouldst enjoy. movement in movement. refers back to it for its source of activity. lust not after any man’s possession. The microcosm is one with the macrocosm. Spirit and formative Nature are confronted and their relations fixed. Thus it is in thee and not otherwise than this.

yet It . subject to Nature and even its creation and sport. immutable. immutable. His object in manifestation being possession and enjoyment of his world. ignorance and sorrow. stable and eternal. This contrary result comes about by Avidya. free. one. The Movement with all its formed objects has been created in order to provide a habitation for the Spirit who. therefore. the possession and enjoyment of the universe. lord of Nature. It is the same Lord who dwells in the sum and the part. the Ignorance of oneness: and the knot of the Ignorance is egoism. being thus in his essence one. in the Cosmos as a whole and in each being.Isha Upanishad: Analysis SPIRIT 17 Spirit is lord of Its movement. divided from others. EGO The cause of ego is that while by Its double power of Vidya and Avidya the Spirit dwells at once in the consciousness of multiplicity and relativity and in the consciousness of unity and identity and is therefore not bound by the Ignorance. force or object in the Cosmos. the Spirit in all is one and their multiplicity is a play of His cosmic consciousness. Since He is one and indivisible. Therefore each human being is in his essence one with all others. man seems to be limited. yet dwells multitudinously in the multiplicity of His mansions. eternal. he is unable to enjoy because of his limitation. Yet. enslaved to death. TRANSITIONAL THOUGHT AVIDYA The object of habitation is enjoyment and possession. free. the object of the Spirit in Cosmos is. divine and free. being One.

to the apparent exclusion of the Knowledge which remains behind. But the desire to possess and enjoy is the master impulse of the Ego which knows itself obscurely to be the Lord. possesses and enjoys. the separative ego-sense which makes each being conceive of itself as an independent personality. veiled at the back of the mentality. but renunciation of all in desire is the condition of the free enjoyment of all. not as the universe in one of its frontal appearances. but an entire liberation of the spirit from any craving after the forms of things. identify Itself with the object in the movement. It conceives similarly of the Inhabitant. The movement of Mind in Nature is thus able to conceive of the object as the reality and the Inhabitant as limited and determined by the appearances of the object. does not desire. The result is discord with others and oneself. it is unable to realise its true existence. It conceives of the object. mental and physical suffering. That which is free. but inalienably contains. but as itself a separate existence standing out from the Cosmos and different in being from all the rest of it. The result of the separation is the inability to enter into harmony and oneness with the universe and a consequent inability to possess and enjoy it. Desire is the badge of subjection with its attendant discord and suffering. one and lord.18 Isha Upanishad: Part One can. The renunciation demanded is not a moral constraint of self-denial or a physical rejection. the straining of energy in passion and in desire towards self-fulfilment. in mind. although owing to the limitations of its relativity. the recoil of energy exhausted or disappointed towards death and disintegration. absorbingly. The illusion is called ahamkara. THE RULE OF THE DIVINE LIFE Enjoyment of the universe and all it contains is the object of world-existence. . This is the illusion of ignorance which falsifies all re˙ ¯ alities. the sense of obscuration. the sense of weakness and inability. The terms of this liberation are freedom from egoism and.

yet all objects exist in that Self and not outside it. . we possess the whole universe in the one cosmic consciousness and do not need to possess physically. For the active Brahman fulfils Itself in the world by works and man also is in the body for self-fulfilment by action. delight of universal selfexpression. is part of the Ignorance which supposes the soul to be a separate entity in the Brahman. the doing of works in this material world and a full acceptance of the term of physical life are part of its completeness. For it has already been said that all souls are one possessing Self. and although the Lord inhabits each object as if separately. the Lord. in ours and in the cosmic Being’s. Being in this body or any kind of body. freedom from personal desire. in their enjoyment. it is idle to think of refraining from action or escaping the physical life. Therefore by transcending Ego and realising the one Self. The idea that this in itself can be a means of liberation. nor as possessed by another and not by oneself. nor as an object of greed in the heart or the senses. Being one with all beings. It is only by this Ananda at once transcendent and universal that man can be free in his soul and yet live in the world with the full active Life of the Lord in His universe of movement. we do not need to desire. This attitude is founded on the perception of unity. Having by oneness with the Lord the possibility of an infinite free delight in all things. nor is this possession limited to the enjoyment of the inactive Soul that only witnesses without taking part in the movement. Practically.Isha Upanishad: Analysis 19 consequently. THE JUSTIFICATION OF WORKS This freedom does not depend upon inaction. we possess. for even his inertia acts and produces effects in the cosmic movement. this renunciation implies that one should not regard anything in the universe as a necessary object of possession. He cannot do otherwise. On the contrary.

20 Isha Upanishad: Part One Action is shunned because it is thought to be inconsistent with freedom. By persisting in gross forms of ignorance. merging the individual in the Cosmic Will. but only passes into some other general state of consciousness than the material universe. not in reality. The chain of Karma only binds the movement of Nature and not the soul which. not into the worlds of light and of liberated and blissful being. some dark or sunless. Therefore the way of freedom is not inaction. one can act with the divine freedom. Desire is only a mode of the emotional mind which by ignorance seeks its delight in the object of desire and not in the Brahman who expresses Himself in the object. The man when he acts. These states are either obscure or illuminated. one enters into states of blind darkness. in subjection to the formal energy that drives the action and in the results of the action. by knowing itself. by coercing perversely the soul in its self-fulfilment or by a wrong dissolution of its becoming in the Movement. Our actions are given up to the Lord and our personal responsibility ceases in His liberty. but to cease from identifying oneself with the movement and recover instead our true identity in the Self of things who is their Lord. By destroying that ignorance one can do action without entanglement in desire. who expresses Himself in it with perfect freedom. THE OTHER WORLDS By departing from the physical life one does not disappear out of the Movement. . The Energy that drives is itself subject to the Lord. By getting behind Nature to the Lord of Nature. These things are true in appearance. ceases even to appear to be bound by the results of its works. is supposed to be necessarily entangled in the desire behind the action.

One unmoving that is swifter than Mind. He is One because there is nothing else. standing. That is within all this and That also is outside all this. That is far and the same is near. is immutable. “ONE UNMOVING” God is the one stable and eternal Reality. He is stable or unmoving. even when they seem to be distinct. passes beyond others as they run. they are one Brahman. for It progresses ever in front. That.II SECOND MOVEMENT [1] Brahman: Oneness of God and the World Verses 4 – 5* BRAHMAN — THE UNITY The Lord and the world. In That the Master of Life establishes the Waters. That moves and That moves not. . He is beyond causality and relativity and therefore there is no change of relations in His being. because motion implies change in Space and change in Time. being beyond Time and Space. He possesses eternally in Himself all that is. 5. and He. since all existence and non-existence are He. That the Gods reach not. * 4. are not really different from each other. has been or ever can be. and He therefore does not increase or diminish.

therefore. creates oppositions of unity and multiplicity. are Its temporary creations. That is something infinitely more puissant. divisions of Time and Space. But mental consciousness is not the Power that creates the universe. but only symbolic of the Being. the same in essence). It is the pure omnipotent selfawareness of the Absolute unbound by any law of the relativity. Change represents the constant shifting of apparent relations in an eternal Immutability. or real with a different kind of reality. It is these truths that are expressed in the formulae of the one Unmoving that is swifter than Mind. “THAT MOVES. by its motion and multiplication in different principles (different in appearance. swift and unfettered than the mind. upheld by the gods. in a sense. The laws of the relativity. But the basis of this movement is not material. it is the energy of active consciousness which. All these things are real in consciousness. of the world which they govern. But the Lord is free and unaffected by His own movement. yet not quite real in comparison with itself. . are described as continually running in their course. The gods. They are laws regularising motion and change. Its law and. the one Stable which outstrips in the speed of its effective consciousness the others who run.22 Isha Upanishad: Part One “SWIFTER THAN MIND” ˙ ¯ The world is a cyclic movement (samsara) of the Divine Consciousness in Space and Time. it exists by movement and would be dissolved by cessation of movement. THAT MOVES NOT” The motion of the world works under the government of a perpetual stability. Their apparent eternity is only the duration. its object is progression. somewhat as the imaginations of a creative Mind are true representations of itself. not laws binding the Lord of the movement. That which moves and moves not. relations and groupings of circumstance and Causality. immeasurable to us.

diversity a play of the unity. their diversities being those of frontal or superficial appearances caused by the sea’s motion. Avidya. Numerical oneness and multiplicity are equally valid terms of its essential unity. As each object in the universe is really the whole universe in a different frontal appearance. The Isha Upanishad does not teach a pure and exclusive Monism. But diversity is not false except when it is divorced from the sense of its true and eternal unity. The world is not a figment of the Mind. “the others”. the sense of diversity Ignorance. but in essence. so each individual soul is all Brahman regarding Itself and world from a centre of cosmic consciousness. which can neither be diminished nor increased. it declares the One without denying the Many and its method is to see the One in the Many. It is identical always and everywhere in Time and Space. these waves are each of them that sea. The ensemble of these ideas is consistent only with a synthetic or comprehensive as opposed to an illusionist or exclusive Monism. as well as identical beyond Time and Space. The sense of unity has therefore been termed Knowledge. representations in Chit. in the free and all-creative self-awareness of 1 The series of ideas under this heading seem to me to be the indispensable metaphysical basis of the Upanishad. These two terms. For That is identical. Unity is the eternal truth of things.Isha Upanishad: Analysis TRANSITIONAL THOUGHT THE MANY 1 23 If the One is pre-eminently real. the Many are not unreal. Numerical oneness would either exclude multiplicity or would be a pluralistic and divisible oneness with the Many as its parts. in truth. are like all others. nor divided. . It asserts the simultaneous validity of Vidya and Avidya and upholds as the object of action and knowledge an immortality consistent with Life and Birth in this world. Vidya. But. The Many in the universe are sometimes called parts of the universal Brahman as the waves are parts of the sea. not numerically. as we see them. Brahman is one. It regards every object as itself the universe and every soul as itself the divine Purusha. That is not the unity of Brahman. not single.

Monism. that becomes. the individual would always tend to lose itself in the universal. the relative as different from the Absolute. Without this separative movement. the individual as other than the universal. Qualified Monism and Dualism. but of formative representation. The individual may regard himself as eternally different from the One. infinitely. Creation is not a making of something out of nothing or of one thing out of another. of the three principal philosophical schools of Vedanta. by a subordinate movement of consciousness. It conceives. in being. It sees itself beyond Space and Time. but a becoming in terms and forms of conscious existence. In the becoming each individual is Brahman variously represented and entering into various relations with Itself in the play of the divine consciousness.2 But he can never regard himself as independent of some kind of Unity. each individual is all Brahman. not of the Void. that becomes in the conditions of Space and Time. For Chit is an action of Being. in inverse order. Brahman as the Absolute or the Universal has the power of standing back from Itself in the relativity. What it sees. or he may go back entirely in his consciousness to the pure Identity. Thus. He puts identity behind him and enforces the play of Being in the separative Ego. yet different. Chit is a power not only of knowledge. It supports a corresponding reaction in the individual who regards himself as “other” than the transcendent and universal Brahman and “other” than the rest of the Many. .24 Isha Upanishad: Part One the Absolute regarding itself variously. Creation is not a making. the two are indeed one power. but a self-projection of Brahman into the conditions of Space and Time. or as eternally one with It. but of expressive will. the relative to disappear into the Absolute. for such a view would correspond to no conceivable truth in the universe or beyond it. These three attitudes correspond to three truths of the 2 The positions. not only of receptive vision. innumerably and formulating what it regards.

Shakti. THE RUNNING OF THE GODS Brahman representing Itself in the universe as the Stable. (See verses 9 – 11. by Its power of active Consciousness (Chit). is Nature. representing Itself as the Motional. but of Being which is absolute. Both are real. the others with a derivative or dependent reality. it cannot conceive the thing-in-itself. Their coexistence. the Absolute. . Therefore we have to conceive of oneness as our self and the essential nature of Being. except by negation.Isha Upanishad: Analysis 25 Brahman which are simultaneously valid and none of them entirely true without the others as its complements. we must remember that Brahman is beyond our mental distinctions and is a fact not of Thought that discriminates. Our consciousness is representative and symbolic. multiplicity does not constitute and uphold the oneness. of all relations oneness is the secret base. .) Still. is Purusha. It is all that is here in Time and beyond Time. the one with a constituent and comprehensive. infinite and escapes discrimination. But the Absolute is not a void or negation. . We have to conceive of the Brahman as One Self of all and then return upon the Many as becomings of ¯ ¯ ¯ the One Being (bhutani . not multiplicity. Force or World-Principle (Prakriti. atman). Spirit. Oneness constitutes and upholds the multiplicity. difficult of conception to the logical intellect. can be experienced by identity in consciousness with Brahman. in a sort of void. by emptying it of all that it seems in the universe to contain. But both the Self and the becomings are Brahman. Even oneness is a representation and exists in relation to multiplicity. multiplicity as a representation of Self and a becoming. by Its immutable existence (Sat). Even in asserting Oneness. Vidya and Avidya are equally eternal powers of the supreme Chit. Neither Vidya nor Avidya by itself is the absolute knowledge. God. we cannot regard the one as Brahman and the others as unreal and not Brahman.

¯ ¯ The “others” are sarvani bhutani of a later verse. self-cognitive. ¯. All things are already realised in Brahman. which has put behind it the . Illusion. Nothing in the appearances of the universe can be entirely That to the relative consciousness. by Causality. taking cognizance of and enjoying the works of Prakriti. all is only a symbolic representation of the Unknowable. Everything in the universe. seems to itself to be moving in the general movement towards a goal outside itself or other than its immediate idea of itself. present and future simultaneously and has not to run to the end of conceivable Time. magic. Maya. It contains in Itself past. Divine Wisdom and is absorbed in the experiences of the separative Ego. The Gods. of something that Brahman already possesses. But the idea of a final goal in the movement of Nature itself is illusory. Brahman is the goal.3 The play of these two principles is the Life of the universe. indeed. self-effective Power of the Lord (Ishwara. executive Nature as opposed to Purusha. find. In this second significance it can really be appropriate ¯ only to the workings of the lower Nature. It contains all formations in Itself coincidently 3 Prakriti. which expresses itself in the workings of Prakriti. in Time and Space. Brahman representing itself in the separative consciousness of the Many. The Gods are Brahman representing Itself in cosmic Personalities expressive of the one Godhead who. Wisdom that is from of old. Exceeding Space. all becomings. Brahman still moving forward in front to a farther realisation. where. for it is both the beginning and the end. it occurs but rarely. the self-existent. apara prakrti. Exceeding Time. appear as the various play of the principles of Nature. at every goal that they realise. in their impersonal action. The running of the Others in the course of Nature is only a working out (Prakriti). Even in Its universal being Brahman exceeds the Movement. Shakti. which is the Soul governing. the cause and the result of all movement.26 Isha Upanishad: Part One Maya). . It is in the more ancient sense that the word Maya is used in the Upanishads. cunning. even the Gods. signifying originally in the Veda comprehensive and creative knowledge. For Brahman is Absolute and Infinite. Deva or Purusha). labouring to reach him. afterwards taken in its second and derivative sense.

The idea of purpose. It is a fact of conscious being. It contains freely in Itself all eventualities as well as all potentialities without being bound by the apparent chain of causality by which they are linked in the universe. it is septuple. . 4 This is the Vaishnava image of the Lila applied usually to the play of the Personal Deity in the world. which is already complete. That is to say. depth of depth. continent of continent. It is a formula symbolically expressive of the Unknowable. works out by figures of Itself in the terms of conscious Being. — so arranged that every level of consciousness really represents something beyond itself. but equally applicable to the active impersonal Brahman. as the Universal Life. of a goal is born of the progressive self-unfolding by the world of its own true nature to the individual Souls inhabiting its forms. Everything is already realised by It as the Lord before it can be accomplished by the separated Personalities in the movement. It is a play4 of the divine Consciousness existing for its own satisfaction and adding nothing to That. with no purpose ulterior to itself.Isha Upanishad: Analysis 27 and has not to run to the end of conceivable Space. constitutes all becomings. determines all activities. For consciousness is not simple or homogeneous. for the Being is gradually self-revealed within its own becomings. This self-unfolding is governed by conditions determined by the complexity of consciousness in its cosmic action. Their interplay creates the worlds. justified by its own existence. a harmony which That. real Unity emerges out of the Multiplicity and changes entirely the values of the latter to our consciousness. Exceeding Causality. it constitutes itself into seven forms or grades of conscious activity descending from pure Being to physical being. THE PRINCIPLE OF LIFE MATARISHWAN AND THE WATERS What then is Its intention in the movement? The movement is a rhythm.

sambhuti of verses 12 – 14). then. Death. Life and Body. Mind. the septuple consciousness. Brahman in Matter or physical being represents Itself as the universal Life-Power. first. In this extension Brahman represents Itself as formative Nature. seven constituents of Chit active in the universe. and the action of Prana. in order that it may change into a new becoming. Chit-Tapas and Ananda. the universal Mother of things. called Prithivi. (Verses 11. . as Matter. Universal Life establishes. Sat. as opposed to this divisible being which founds itself on the constant changeableness of physical substance. not our pure being. For all life is a constant birth or be¯ coming (sambhava. infinite and undivided. These constitute for us a divided and mutable existence which is in a condition of unstable harmony and works by a strife of positive and negative forces between the two poles of Birth and Death. therefore. involved in Matter. on the Matrix of things evolves out of it its different forms and serves as a basis for all their evolutions. Sat is the divine counterpart of physical substance. who appears to us. and described as a stage which has to be passed through and transcended. 14) For this is not the whole of our being and. We have. Sat is essence of our being. a superconscious existence which has also three constituents. All birth entails a constant death or dissolution of that which becomes. the dynamic energy. Therefore this state of existence is called Mrityu. behind. TRANSITIONAL THOUGHT THE WATERS There are. Brahman self-extended in Space and Time is the universe. and presides effectively over all arrangement and formation. the Earth-Principle. Matarishwan. Prana. pure. which moves there as a dynamic energy.28 Isha Upanishad: Part One Brahman is always the continent of this play or this working. We are habitually aware of three elements in our being.

17. It is the causal Idea which. the bliss of pure conscious existence and energy. joy and grief. feeding upon physical substances. In its origin. It is called. 6 Not the abstract mental idea. leads the divided consciousness back 5 Therefore physical substance is called in the Upanishads Annam. by supporting and secretly guiding the confused activities of the Mind. 14. but the supramental Real-Idea. it works out all things according to their nature with a perfect knowledge and prevision.5 Tapas is the divine counterpart of this lower nervous or vital energy. Amritam. as opposed to the hampered dynamic energies of Prana which. the Consciousness. Vijnana. the word meant simply being or substance. as opposed to the life of the sensations and emotions which are at the mercy of the outward touches of Life and Matter and their positive and negative reactions. It is power that acts and effectuates. Immortality. Food. Vijnana. the power of all its potentialities and the power of all its forms. pleasure and pain. Life and Body. however. are dependent on and limited by their sustenance. proper to the divine Sachchidananda. and offered to us as the goal to be aimed at and the felicity to be enjoyed when we have transcended the state of death. therefore. containing in itself the effective power of Chit. Ananda is Beatitude. is unified. Force and Delight of the Being precipitated into a comprehensive and discriminative awareness of all the truths and powers of its own existence. Ananda is the divine counterpart of the lower emotional and sensational being. because it is of the nature of an infinite cosmic Intelligence comprehensive of all particular activities. the Right or Law. because. free in its rest or its action. the Vast. not confused by the figures of Birth and Death. (Verses 11. . This higher existence. It is called in the Veda the Truth because it represents by direct vision the truth of things both inclusive and independent of their appearances. 18) The higher divine is linked to the lower mortal existence by the causal Idea6 or supramental Knowledge-Will. as well as knowledge master of its own action. self-existent. sovereign in its will. carrying in its self-knowledge the will of self-manifestation. as the Truth. ensures and compels the right arrangement of the universe.Isha Upanishad: Analysis 29 Chit-Tapas is pure energy of Consciousness.

. but capable of being involved and remanifested in each other. 5. the infinite Future with all their contents and happenings as the One Brahman. Continent and Indwelling Spirit. This is the transcendental. They are actually involved in physical Nature and must necessarily evolve out of it. contains and supports all individual things as well as all universe. they are imaged as currents flowing into or rising out of the general sea of Consciousness in the human being. We have to perceive all things in Space and Time. Ocean of the Heart. IV. It also sees the truth of things in the multiplicity.V. which is the object of all knowledge. the immemorial Past. The infolding and unfolding of the One in the Many and the Many in the One is therefore the law of the eternally recurrent cosmic Cycles.30 Isha Upanishad: Part One to the One. Vijnana is the divine counterpart of the lower divided intelligence. universal and individual Brahman. transcendentally of Time and Space and Causality. the far and the near. We must see It in eternal and immutable Spirit and in all the changing manifestations of universe and relativity. 58. We have to perceive Brahman comprehensively as both the Stable and the Moving. 7 Hrdya samudra. They can be withdrawn into pure infinite Being and can again be manifested out of it. We have to perceive Brahman as that which exceeds. the immediate Present. THE VISION OF THE BRAHMAN The Upanishad teaches us how to perceive Brahman in the universe and in our self-existence. Its realisation is the condition of perfection and the way of Immortality. We have to perceive It also as that which lives in and possesses the universe and all it contains.7 They are all coexistent in the universe eternally and inseparably. R. Lord. . These seven powers of Chit are spoken of by the Vedic Rishis as the Waters.

III SECOND MOVEMENT [2] Self-Realisation Verses 6 – 7* SELF-REALISATION Brahman is. animate or inanimate. character. temperament. therefore. Its existence is light and bliss. * 6. self-concentrated in consciousness. pure. mind. jagat¯. It is timeless. shrinks not thereafter from aught. all things that exist. body. how shall he be deluded. When this unity has been realised by the individual in every part of his being. possessed of the entire divine felicity. are becomings of the one Self of all. it is pure indivisible Being. subjectively. is Brahman. Everything that changes in us. action. He in whom it is the Self-Being that has become all existences that are Becomings. But he who sees everywhere the Self in all existences and all existences in the Self. selfluminous. is not our real and unchanging self. self-delighted. Atman. 7. This is the truth each being has to realise. spaceless and free. ATMAN Atman. life. whence shall he have grief who sees everywhere oneness? . our true self. self-concentrated in force. All these different creatures are one indivisible existence. he becomes perfect. for he has the perfect knowledge. ı In Nature. but becomings of the Self in the movement. the Self or immutable existence of all that is in the universe. liberated from ego and the dualities.

but conditioned and limited by neither of them. not immersed in these Waters. The Akshara is the hidden freedom of the Kshara. possesses and upholds the action of Nature. but appears to be their victim. Kshara. . and Para or Uttama. 1 Gita XV. indifferent. moving or mutable. Para Purusha or Purushottama is the Self containing and enjoying both the stillness and the movement. the Lord. These three states are Akshara. It is this supreme Self that has to be realised in both the unmoving and the mutable. represents itself differently in the sevenfold movement of Nature according to the dominant principle of the consciousness in the individual being. participating in them. the Indefinable and Unknowable. pure. 17. It is the Lord. For. by which it seems to be created. controls secretly its own changes but seems to be controlled by them. unmoving or immutable. calm. 1 – 6. See also XIII passim. the Self. 16. Brahman. progress and change. the Self is Ishwara. above them as on a summit.32 Isha Upanishad: Part One THE THREEFOLD PURUSHA1 Atman represents itself to the consciousness of the creature in three states. impartial. as the Kshara. increase and diminish. enjoys change and division and duality. good and bad. the Soul and Nature. Supreme or Highest. 2 Taittiriya Upanishad II. Atman. dependent on the relations between Purusha and Prakriti. PURUSHA IN PRAKRITI2 Atman. Akshara Purusha is the Self standing back from the changes and movements of Nature. the All. This calm Self is the sky that never moves and changes looking down upon the waters that are never at rest. always and inalienably. immersed in the consciousness of the movement and seeming in it to be born and die. watching them and not participating. enjoys the oppositions of pleasure and pain. Kshara Purusha is the Self reflecting the changes and movements of Nature.

consciousness. The state of mental existence in Matter is the lower half. manomaya purusa. . In the supra-intellectual consciousness. The state of Sachchidananda is the higher half of universal ¯ existence. Amritam. life and body are the lower . dominated by the Truth or causal Idea (called in Veda Satyam. the True. In the consciousness proper to the infinite divine selfawareness which is also the infinite all-effective Will (ChitTapas). Brihat. parardha. In the mental consciousness Atman becomes the mental being. its nature of infinite being. . . ¯ nature. can live in any of these states of the Self in the world and partake of its experiences. . . . . In the consciousness proper to the state of pure divine existence Atman is sat purusa. the nature of which is Immortality. vijnanamaya purusa or mahat atman. He can be anything he wills from the material to the all-blissful being.3 . the pure divine Self. In the consciousness proper to the universal Beatitude.Isha Upanishad: Analysis 33 In the physical consciousness Atman becomes the material being. caitanya purusa. the Vast). the Right. Atman becomes the ideal being or ˜¯ ¯ great Soul. SACHCHIDANANDA Sachchidananda is the manifestation of the higher Purusha. In the vital or nervous consciousness Atman becomes the ¯. Atman is the all-conscious Soul that is source and lord of the universe. Mind. Man. vital or dynamic being. Ritam. annamaya purusa. pranamaya purusa. power and bliss is the ¯ higher Nature. Through the Anandamaya he can enter into the Chaitanya and Sat Purusha. Atman becomes the all-blissful being or all-enjoying and all¯ productive Soul. being one in his true Self with the Lord who inhabits all forms. the Large. . 3 The mahat atman or Vast Self is frequently referred to in the Upanishads. para prakrti. It is also ¯ ¯ ¯ called bhuma. anandamaya purusa. apara prakrti.

to the Knowledge as Brahman supporting individual consciousness and individual form. Realising perfectly Sachchidananda. From the standpoint of our lower state in the kingdom of death and limitation Atman is Sachchidananda. they can convert themselves. Mrityu. Vijnana. The realisation of the Self as Sachchidananda is the aim of human existence. into the pure essence. the ¯ Cosmic Soul (paribhu of the eighth verse. the “sunlit” worlds and states of felicity. . the soul realises its true state in other forms of existence or worlds. the One who becomes everywhere). because they are indispensable to an understanding of the complete philosophy of these Scriptures and to the relations of the thought which is developed in the Isha. embrace and possess it as the Lord. it does both simultaneously. 4 I have collected under this and the preceding headings the principal ideas of the Upanishads with regard to the Self. THE CONDITION OF SELF-REALISATION4 Sachchidananda is always the pure state of Atman. the nature of which is death. Mind into the nature of the Truth. Life into the nature of Chaitanya. it may either remain self-contained as if apart from the universe or overlook. to the Ignorance as an individualised and limited being. Mind and life in the body are in the state of Death because by Ignorance they fail to realise Sachchidananda. He manifests as the Jivatman or individual self in the living creature. It is also possible for the soul to withdraw for an indefinable period into the pure state of Sachchidananda. When this cannot be done perfectly in the body. and returns upon material existence to complete its evolution in the body. (Verse 8) The Lord pervades the universe as the Virat Purusha.34 Isha Upanishad: Part One ¯ aparardha. that is. In fact. although not expressly mentioned or alluded to in our text. A progressively perfect realisation in the body is the aim of human evolution. He enters into each object in the movement. Body into the nature of Sat. supra-mental.

a pure activity of unegoistic Will or an obscuration and deflection of Will in the dualities of right and wrong action. THE STAGES OF SELF-REALISATION THE VISION OF THE ALL The first movement of self-realisation is the sense of unity with other existences in the universe. sin and virtue. joy and grief. the tendency of a widening love or compassion or fellow-feeling for others. The limitation is brought about through the Kshara Purusha identifying itself with the changeable formations of Nature in the separate body. troubled and obscured. a pure state and unmixed play of beatitude or an obscuration and perversion of it in the dualities of right and wrong enjoyment. the reflection is distorted and subjected to the crooked action of the Ignorance. If the mind is pure. the drawing together of similar units resulting in a collectivity or solidarity . the impulsion of work for the sake of others. to the exclusion of the sense of unity with all existence and with all existences. It is the mental ego-sense that creates this distortion by division and limitation of the Self.Isha Upanishad: Analysis 35 but reflected in the mind. Its diminution and final disappearance are the condition of self-realisation. Its early or crude form is the attempt to understand or sympathise with others. bright and still. The beginning of wisdom. the individual life and the egoistic mind. perfection and beatitude is the vision of the One. there is the right reflection. not an ineffugable law of human consciousness. pleasure and pain. This exclusion is a fixed habit of the understanding due to our past evolution in the movement. According to the state of the reflecting mind we may have either purity of self-knowledge or an obscuration and distortion of knowledge in the dualities of truth and error. The oneness so realised is a pluralistic unity. if it is unpurified.

We see also all minds. fear. then knowledge is perfected. one Mind.36 Isha Upanishad: Part One rather than in real oneness. in proportion as it increases in intensity and completeness. hatred. lives. one must become what inwardly one sees. all repulsion. When this Soul of things is seen to be Sachchidananda. Truth a play of Sachchidananda. suffering. fear. For we see Matter to be only a play of Life. The Many remain to the consciousness as the real existences. — one Matter. It is the opposite of attraction which is the source of desire and attachment. THE VISION OF THE SELF IN ITS BECOMINGS Vision is not sufficient. hatred and other perversions of feeling which arise from division and personal opposition to other beings or to the objectivities that surround us. that is to say. Sachchidananda the self-manifestation of a supreme Unknowable. discomfort. The whole inner life must be changed so as to represent perfectly in all parts of the being what is understood by the intellect and seen by the inner perception. Life a play of Mind energising itself in substance. Repulsion and attraction removed. For by this vision. the One is only their result. This is the vision of all existences in the Self and of the Self in all existences which is the foundation of perfect internal liberty and perfect joy and peace. one Life. 5 The state described in the Gita as samatva. We perceive the soul in all bodies to be this one Self or Sachchidananda multiplying itself in individual consciousness. we have samatva. there disappears from the individual mental¯ ity all jugupsa. Perfect equality5 of soul is established. one Soul playing in many forms. shrinking. bodies to be active formations of the same existence in the extended being of the Self. dislike. . Jugupsa is the feeling of repulsion caused ¯ by the sense of a want of harmony between one’s own limited self-formation and the contacts of the external with a consequent recoil of grief. Real knowledge begins with the perception of essential oneness. Mind a play of Truth or causal Idea representing truth of being variously in all possible mental forms. Para-Brahman or Para-Purusha.

edge). therefore. The individual soul has to change the human or egoistic for the divine. I am He. living in innumerable existences that are Himself. eternally self-existent. a great progressive harmony of Becoming whose last term is Sachchidananda or Immortality. the way in which God sees the world. (Verses 9 – 14) All parts of the lower being must consent to this realisation. the sense-mind in a sensation of God and self everywhere. is Himself. the Self-Being became all Becomings). working out to a divine fulfilment and under terms fixed from the beginning. to perceive with the intellect is not enough. supreme and universal view and live in that realisation.Isha Upanishad: Analysis 37 In the individual soul extending itself to the All by the vision of unity (ekatvam anupa´ yatah. seeing everywhere oneness). helping all impartially. emotions and sensations according to the perfect knowledge of the right relation of things which comes by ¯ the realisation of the Truth (vijanatah. ranging its thoughts. This is the view-point of the Self as Lord inhabiting the whole movement. to embrace simultaneously Vidya and Avidya. This is the double or synthetic ideal of the Isha Upanishad. but change the terms of the Death into the terms of the Immortality. ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯ the multiplicity of the world (sarvani bhutani atmaiva abhut. to exist in the world. there must be repeated the divine act of consciousness by which the one Being. the sole unity. to have the freedom and peace of the Non-Birth simultaneously with the activity of the Birth. as the sole Being. manifests in itself ¯. the One and the Many. each trying to get its utmost possible profit out of the others and the world. supporting all. It is necessary. having the perfect knowl. The heart must consent in a universal love and delight. but the divine view. in the equation so’ham. ars . and in that knowledge to extend one’s conscious existence so as to embrace the whole Multiplicity. . the life in the comprehension of all aims and energies in the world as part of its own being. to have the knowledge of the transcendent Self. That is to say. from years sempiternal. the human or egoistic view is that of a world of innumerable separate creatures each self-existent and different from the others.


Isha Upanishad: Part One

This realisation is the perfect and complete Beatitude, embracing action, but delivered from sorrow and self-delusion. There is no possibility of self-delusion (moha); for the soul, having attained to the perception of the Unknowable behind all existence, is no longer attached to the Becoming and no longer attributes an absolute value to any particularity in the universe, as if that were an object in itself and desirable in itself. All is enjoyable and has a value as the manifestation of the Self and for the sake of the Self which is manifested in it, but none for its own.6 Desire and illusion are removed; illusion is replaced by knowledge, desire by the active beatitude of universal possession. There is no possibility of sorrow; for all is seen as Sachchidananda and therefore in the terms of the infinite conscious existence, the infinite will, the infinite felicity. Even pain and grief are seen to be perverse terms of Ananda, and that Ananda which they veil here and for which they prepare the lower existence (for all suffering in the evolution is a preparation of strength and bliss) is already seized, known and enjoyed by the soul thus liberated and perfected. For it possesses the eternal Reality of which they are the appearances. Thus it is possible, by the realisation of the unity of God and the world (¯s and jagat¯ ) in the complete knowledge of the ı´ ı Brahman, to renounce desire and illusion through the ascent to the pure Self and the Non-Becoming and yet to enjoy by means of all things in the manifestation God in the universe through a free and illuminated self-identification with Sachchidananda in all existences. CONCLUSION We have, therefore, in the second movement the explanation of the first verse of the Upanishad. The first line, asserting that all
6 Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

Isha Upanishad: Analysis


souls are the one Lord inhabiting every object in the universe and that every object is universe in universe, movement in the general movement, has been explained in the terms of complete oneness by the Brahman, transcendental and universal even in the individual, One in the Many, Many in the One, Stable and Motional, exceeding and reconciling all opposites. The second line, fixing as the rule of divine life universal renunciation of desire as the condition of universal enjoyment in the spirit, has been explained by the state of self-realisation, the realisation of the free and transcendent Self as one’s own true being, of that Self as Sachchidananda and of the universe seen as the Becoming of Sachchidananda and possessed in the terms of the right knowledge and no longer in the terms of the Ignorance which is the cause of all attraction and repulsion, self-delusion and sorrow.


The Lord
Verse 8*
“HE” In its third movement the Upanishad takes up the justification of works already stated in general terms in its second verse and founds it more precisely upon the conception of Brahman or the Self as the Lord, — Ish, Ishwara, Para Purusha, Sa (He) — who is the cause of personality and governs by His law of works the rhythm of the Movement and the process of the worlds that He conceives and realises throughout eternal Time in His own self-existence. It is an error to conceive that the Upanishads teach the true existence only of an impersonal and actionless Brahman, an impersonal God without power or qualities. They declare rather an Unknowable that manifests itself to us in a double aspect of Personality and Impersonality. When they wish to speak of this Unknowable in the most comprehensive and general way, they use the neuter and call It Tat, That; but this neuter does not exclude the aspect of universal and transcendent Personality acting and governing the world (cf. Kena Upanishad III). Still, when they intend to make prominent the latter idea they more often prefer to use the masculine Sa, He, or else they employ the
* 8. It is He that has gone abroad — That which is bright, bodiless, without scar of imperfection, without sinews, pure, unpierced by evil. The Seer, the Thinker, the One who becomes everywhere, the Self-existent has ordered objects perfectly according to their nature from years sempiternal.

Isha Upanishad: Analysis


term Deva, God or the Divine, or Purusha, the conscious Soul, of whom Prakriti or Maya is the executive Puissance, the Shakti. The Isha Upanishad, having declared the Brahman as the sole reality manifesting itself in many aspects and forms, having presented this Brahman subjectively as the Self, the one Being of whom all existences are Becomings, and as that which we have to realise in ourselves and in all things and beyond all things, now proceeds to assert the same Brahman more objectively as the Lord, the Purusha who both contains and inhabits the universe. It is He that went abroad. This Brahman, this Self is identical with the Lord, the Ish, with whose name the Upanishad opens, the Inhabitant of all forms: and, as we shall find, identical with the universal Purusha of the 16th verse, — “The Purusha there and there, He am I.” It is He who has become all things and beings, — a conscious Being, the sole Existent and Self-existent, who is Master and Enjoyer of all He becomes. And the Upanishad proceeds to formulate the nature and manner, the general law of that becoming of God which we call the world. For on this conception depends the Vedic idea of the two poles of death and immortality, the reason for the existence of Avidya, the Ignorance, and the justification of works in the world.


The Vedantic idea of God, “He”, Deva or Ishwara, must not be confused with the ordinary notions attached to the conception of a Personal God. Personality is generally conceived as identical with individuality and the vulgar idea of a Personal God is a magnified individual like man in His nature but yet different, greater, more vast and all-overpowering. Vedanta admits the human manifestation of Brahman in man and to man, but does not admit that this is the real nature of the Ishwara. God is Sachchidananda. He manifests Himself as infinite existence of which the essentiality is consciousness, of which


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again the essentiality is bliss, is self-delight. Delight cognizing variety of itself, seeking its own variety, as it were, becomes the universe. But these are abstract terms; abstract ideas in themselves cannot produce concrete realities. They are impersonal states; impersonal states cannot in themselves produce personal activities. This becomes still clearer if we consider the manifestation of Sachchidananda. In that manifestation Delight translates itself into Love; Consciousness translates itself into double terms, conceptive Knowledge, executive Force; Existence translates itself into Being, that is to say, into Person and Substance. But Love is incomplete without a Lover and an object of Love, Knowledge without a Knower and an object of Knowledge, Force without a Worker and a Work, Substance without a Person cognizing and constituting it. This is because the original terms also are not really impersonal abstractions. In delight of Brahman there is an Enjoyer of delight, in consciousness of Brahman a Conscient, in existence of Brahman an Existent; but the object of Brahman’s delight and consciousness and the term and stuff of Its existence are Itself. In the divine Being Knowledge, the Knower and the Known and, therefore, necessarily also Delight, the Enjoyer and the Enjoyed are one. This Self-Awareness and Self-Delight of Brahman has two modes of its Force of consciousness, its Prakriti or Maya, — intensive in self-absorption, diffusive in self-extension. The intensive mode is proper to the pure and silent Brahman; the diffusive to the active Brahman. It is the diffusion of the Selfexistent in the term and stuff of His own existence that we call the world, the becoming or the perpetual movement (bhuvanam, jagat). It is Brahman that becomes; what He becomes is also the Brahman. The object of Love is the self of the Lover; the work is the self-figuration of the Worker; Universe is body and action of the Lord. When, therefore, we consider the abstract and impersonal aspect of the infinite existence, we say, “That”; when we consider the Existent self-aware and self-blissful, we say, “He”. Neither

Isha Upanishad: Analysis


conception is entirely complete. Brahman itself is the Unknowable beyond all conceptions of Personality and Impersonality. We may call it “That” to show that we exile from our affirmation all term and definition. We may equally call it “He”, provided we speak with the same intention of rigorous exclusion. “Tat” and “Sa” are always the same, One that escapes definition. In the universe there is a constant relation of Oneness and Multiplicity. This expresses itself as the universal Personality and the many Persons, and both between the One and the Many and among the Many themselves there is the possibility of an infinite variety of relations. These relations are determined by the play of the divine existence, the Lord, entering into His manifested habitations. They exist at first as conscious relations between individual souls; they are then taken up by them and used as a means of entering into conscious relation with the One. It is this entering into various relations with the One which is the object and function of Religion. All religions are justified by this essential necessity; all express one Truth in various ways and move by various paths to one goal. The Divine Personality reveals Himself in various forms and names to the individual soul. These forms and names are in a sense created in the human consciousness; in another they are eternal symbols revealed by the Divine who thus concretises Himself in mind-form to the multiple consciousness and aids it in its return to its own Unity.1 HE THAT WENT ABROAD It is He that has extended Himself in the relative consciousness whose totality of finite and changeable circumstances dependent on an equal, immutable and eternal Infinity is what we call the ¯ Universe. Sa paryagat. In this extension we have, therefore, two aspects, one of pure infinite relationless immutability, another of a totality of objects
1 It would be an error to suppose that these conceptions are in their essence later developments of philosophical Hinduism. The conception of the many forms and names of the One is as old as the Rig Veda.


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in Time and Space working out their relations through causality. Both are different and mutually complementary expressions of the same unknowable “He”. To express the infinite Immutability the Upanishad uses a series of neuter adjectives, “Bright, bodiless, without scar, without sinews, pure, unpierced by evil.” To express the same Absolute as cause, continent and governing Inhabitant of the ¯˙ totality of objects and of each object in the totality (jagatyam jagat) it uses four masculine epithets, “The Seer, the Thinker, the One who becomes everywhere, the Self-existent” or “the Self-Becoming”. The Immutable is the still and secret foundation of the play and the movement, extended equally, impartially in all things, ˙ samam brahma,2 lending its support to all without choice or active participation. Secure and free in His eternal immutability the Lord projects Himself into the play and the movement, becoming there in His self-existence all that the Seer in Him visu¯. alises and the Thinker in Him conceives. Kavir man¯sı paribhuh ı.¯ ¯. svayambhuh. THE PURE IMMUTABLE The pure immutability of the Lord is “bright”. It is a luminosity of pure concentrated Self-awareness, not broken by refractions, not breaking out into colour and form. It is the pure selfknowledge of the Purusha, the conscious Soul, with his Power, his executive Force contained and inactive. It is “bodiless”, — without form, indivisible and without appearance of division. It is one equal Purusha in all things, not divided by the divisions of Space and Time, — a pure selfconscious Absolute. It is without scar, that is, without defect, break or imperfection. It is untouched and unaffected by the mutabilities. It supports their clash of relations, their play of more and less, of increase and diminution, of irruption and interpenetration.
2 “The equal Brahman.” — Gita.

Isha Upanishad: Analysis


¯ For Itself is without action, acalah sanatanah,3 “motionless, . . sempiternal”. It is without sinews. The reason for Its being without scar is that It does not put out Power, does not dispense Force in multiple channels, does not lose it here, increase it there, replenish its loss or seek by love or by violence its complementary or its food. It is without nerves of force; It does not pour itself out in the energies of the Pranic dynamism, of Life, of Matarishwan. It is pure, unpierced by evil. What we call sin or evil, is merely excess and defect, wrong placement, inharmonious action and reaction. By its equality, by its inaction even while it supports all action, the conscious Soul retains its eternal freedom and eternal purity. For it is unmodified; It watches as the Sakshi, the witness, the modifications effected by Prakriti, but does not partake of them, does not get clogged with them, receives not their impression. Na lipyate. THE SOUL INALIENABLY FREE What is the relation of the active Brahman and of the human soul to this pure Inactive? They too are That. Action does not change the nature of the Self, but only the nature of the diverse forms. The Self is always pure, blissful, perfect, whether inactive or participating in action. The Self is all things and exceeds them. It exceeds always that in which the mind is engrossed, that which it takes in a particular time and space as a figure of itself. The boundless whole is always perfect. The totality of things is a complete harmony without wound or flaw. The view-point of the part taken for a whole, in other words the Ignorance, is the broken reflection which creates the consciousness of limitation, incompleteness and discord. We shall see that this Ignorance has a use in the play of the Brahman; but in itself it appears at first to be only a parent of evil. Ignorance is a veil that separates the mind, body and life
3 Gita II. 24.


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from their source and reality, Sachchidananda. Thus obscured the mind feels itself pierced by the evil that Ignorance creates. But the Active Brahman is always Sachchidananda using for its selfbecoming the forms of mind, body and life. All their experiences are therefore seen by It in the terms of Sachchidananda. It is not pierced by the evil. For It also is the One and sees everywhere Oneness. It is not mastered by the Ignorance that It uses as a minor term of its conception. The human soul is one with the Lord; it also is in its completeness Sachchidananda using Ignorance as the minor term of its being. But it has projected its conceptions into this minor term and established there in limited mind its centre of vision, its view-point. It assumes to itself the incompleteness and the resultant sense of want, discord, desire, suffering. The Real Man behind is not affected by all this confusion; but the apparent or exterior Man is affected. To recover its freedom it must recover its completeness; it must identify itself with the divine Inhabitant within, its true and complete self. It can then, like the Lord, conduct the action of Prakriti without undergoing the false impression of identification with the results of its action. It is this idea on which the Upanishad bases the assertion, “Action cleaveth not to a man.” To this end it must recover the silent Brahman within. The Lord possesses always His double term and conducts the action of the universe, extended in it, but not attached to or limited by His works. The human soul, entangled in mind, is obscured in vision by the rushing stream of Prakriti’s works and fancies itself to be a part of that stream and swept in its currents and in its eddies. It has to go back in its self-existence to the silent Purusha even while participating in its self-becoming in the movement of Prakriti. It becomes, then, not only like the silent Purusha, the witness and upholder, but also the Lord and the free enjoyer of Prakriti and her works. An absolute calm and passivity, purity and equality within, a sovereign and inexhaustible activity without is the nature of Brahman as we see it manifested in the universe. There is therefore no farther objection to works. On

Isha Upanishad: Analysis


the contrary, works are justified by the participation or selfidentification of the soul with the Lord in His double aspect of passivity and activity. Tranquillity for the Soul, activity for the energy, is the balance of the divine rhythm in man. THE LAW OF THINGS ¯ The totality of objects (arthan) is the becoming of the Lord in the extension of His own being. Its principle is double. There is consciousness; there is Being. Consciousness dwells in energy ˜¯ (tapas) upon its self-being to produce Idea of itself (vijnana) and form and action inevitably corresponding to the Idea. This is the original Indian conception of creation, self-production or projection into form (srsti, prasava). Being uses its self-awareness to . .. evolve infinite forms of itself governed by the expansion of the innate Idea in the form. This is the original Indian conception of evolution, prominent in certain philosophies such as the Sankhya ¯ (parinama, vikara, vivarta). It is the same phenomenon diversely .¯ stated. In the idea of some thinkers the world is a purely subjective evolution (vivarta), not real as objective fact; in the idea of others it is an objective fact, a real modification (parinama), but one .¯ which makes no difference to the essence of Being. Both notions claim to derive from the Upanishads as their authority, and their opposition comes in fact by the separation of what in the ancient Vedanta was viewed as one, — as we see in this passage. Brahman is His own subject and His own object, whether in His pure self-existence or in His varied self-becoming. He is the object of His own self-awareness; He is the Knower of His own self-being. The two aspects are inseparable, even though they seem to disappear into each other and emerge again from each other. All appearance of pure subjectivity holds itself as an object implicit in its very subjectivity; all appearance of pure objectivity holds itself as subject implicit in its very objectivity. All objective existence is the Self-existent, the Self-becoming, “Swayambhu”, becoming by the force of the Idea within it. The Idea is, self-contained, the Fact that it becomes. For Swayambhu


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sees or comprehends Himself in the essence of the Fact as “Kavi”, thinks Himself out in the evolution of its possibilities as “Manishi”, becomes form of Himself in the movement in Space and Time as “Paribhu”. These three are one operation appearing as successive in the relative, temporal and spatial Consciousness. It follows that every object holds in itself the law of its own ´ ¯s ı ¯ being eternally, sa´ vat¯bhyah samabhyah, from years sempiter. . nal, in perpetual Time. All relations in the totality of objects are thus determined by their Inhabitant, the Self-existent, the Selfbecoming, and stand contained in the nature of things by the omnipresence of the One, the Lord, by His self-vision which is their inherent subjective Truth, by His self-becoming which, against a background of boundless possibilities, is the Law of their inevitable evolution in the objective Fact. ¯ ¯ Therefore all things are arranged by Him perfectly, yathatathyatah, as they should be in their nature. There is an imper. ative harmony in the All, which governs the apparent discords of individualisation. That discord would be real and operate in eternal chaos, if there were only a mass of individual forms and forces, if each form and force did not contain in itself and were not in its reality the self-existent All, the Lord. THE PROCESS OF THINGS The Lord appears to us in the relative notion of the process of things first as Kavi, the Wise, the Seer. The Kavi sees the Truth in itself, the truth in its becoming, in its essence, possibilities, actuality. He contains all that in the Idea, the Vijnana, called the Truth and Law, Satyam Ritam. He contains it comprehensively, not piecemeal; the Truth and Law of things is the Brihat, the Large. Viewed by itself, the realm of Vijnana would seem a realm of predetermination, of concentration, of compelling seed-state. But it is a determination not in previous Time, but in perpetual Time; a Fate compelled by the Soul, not compelling it, compelling rather the action and result, present in the expansion of the movement as well as in the concentration of the Idea.

Isha Upanishad: Analysis


Therefore the truth of the Soul is freedom and mastery, not subjection and bondage. Purusha commands Prakriti, Prakriti does not compel Purusha. Na karma lipyate nare. The Manishi takes his stand in the possibilities. He has behind him the freedom of the Infinite and brings it in as a background for the determination of the finite. Therefore every action in the world seems to emerge from a balancing and clashing of various possibilities. None of these, however, are effective in the determination except by their secret consonance with the Law of that which has to become. The Kavi is in the Manishi and upholds him in his working. But viewed by itself the realm of the Manishi would seem to be a state of plasticity, of freewill, of the interaction of forces, but of a free-will in thought which is met by a fate in things. For the action of the Manishi is meant to eventuate in the becoming of the Paribhu. The Paribhu, called also Virat, extends Himself in the realm of eventualities. He fulfils what is contained in the Truth, what works out in the possibilities reflected by the mind, what appears to us as the fact objectively realised. The realm of Virat would seem, if taken separately, to be that of a Law and Predetermination which compels all things that evolve in that realm, — the iron chain of Karma, the rule of mechanical necessity, the despotism of an inexplicable Law. But the becoming of Virat is always the becoming of the self¯. ¯. existent Lord, — paribhuh svayambhuh. Therefore to realise the truth of that becoming we have to go back and re-embrace all that stands behind; — we have to return to the full truth of the free and infinite Sachchidananda. This is the truth of things as seen from above and from the Unity. It is the divine standpoint; but we have to take account of the human standpoint which starts from below, proceeds from the Ignorance, and perceives these principles successively, not comprehensively, as separate states of consciousness. Humanity is that which returns in experience to Sachchidananda, and it must begin from below, in Avidya, with the mind embodied in Matter, the Thinker imprisoned and emerging from the objective Fact. This imprisoned Thinker is Man, the “Manu”.


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He has to start from death and division and arrive at unity and immortality. He has to realise the universal in the individual and the Absolute in the relative. He is Brahman growing self-conscious in the objective multiplicity. He is the ego in the cosmos vindicating himself as the All and the Transcendent.


Knowledge and Ignorance
Verses 9 – 11*
VIDYA AND AVIDYA All manifestation proceeds by the two terms, Vidya and Avidya, the consciousness of Unity and the consciousness of Multiplicity. They are the two aspects of the Maya, the formative self-conception of the Eternal. Unity is the eternal and fundamental fact, without which all multiplicity would be unreal and an impossible illusion. The consciousness of Unity is therefore called Vidya, the Knowledge. Multiplicity is the play or varied self-expansion of the One, shifting in its terms, divisible in its view of itself, by force of which the One occupies many centres of consciousness, inhabits many formations of energy in the universal Movement. Multiplicity is implicit or explicit in unity. Without it the Unity would be either a void of non-existence or a powerless, sterile limitation to the state of indiscriminate self-absorption or of blank repose. But the consciousness of multiplicity separated from the true knowledge in the many of their own essential oneness, — the
* 9. Into a blind darkness they enter who follow after the Ignorance, they as if into a greater darkness who devote themselves to the Knowledge alone. 10. Other, verily, it is said, is that which comes by the Knowledge, other that which comes by the Ignorance; this is the lore we have received from the wise who revealed That to our understanding. 11. He who knows That as both in one, the Knowledge and the Ignorance, by the Ignorance crosses beyond death and by the Knowledge enjoys Immortality.


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view-point of the separate ego identifying itself with the divided form and the limited action, — is a state of error and delusion. In man this is the form taken by the consciousness of multiplicity. Therefore it is given the name of Avidya, the Ignorance. Brahman, the Lord, is one and all-blissful, but free from limitation by His unity; all-powerful, He is able to conceive Himself from multiple centres in multiple forms from which and upon which flow multiple currents of energy, seen by us as actions or play of forces. When He is thus multiple, He is not bound by His multiplicity, but amid all variations dwells eternally in His own oneness. He is Lord of Vidya and Avidya. They are the two sides of His self-conception (Maya), the twin powers of His Energy (Chit-Shakti). Brahman, exceeding as well as dwelling in the play of His Maya, is Ish, lord of it and free. Man, dwelling in the play, is Anish, not lord, not free, subject to Avidya. But this subjection is itself a play of the Ignorance, unreal in essential fact ¯ ¯ (paramartha), real only in practical relation (vyavahara), in the working out of the actions of the divine Energy, the Chit-Shakti. To get back to the essential fact of his freedom he must recover the sense of Oneness, the consciousness of Brahman, of the Lord, realise his oneness in Brahman and with the Lord. Recovering his freedom, realising his oneness with all existences as becomings of the One Being who is always himself (so’ham asmi, He am I), he is able to carry out divine actions in the world, no longer subject to the Ignorance, because free in the Knowledge. The perfection of man, therefore, is the full manifestation of the Divine in the individual through the supreme accord between Vidya and Avidya. Multiplicity must become conscious of its oneness, Oneness embrace its multiplicity. THE EXTREME PATHS The purpose of the Lord in the world cannot be fulfilled by following Vidya alone or Avidya alone. Those who are devoted entirely to the principle of multiplicity and division and take their orientation away from oneness

Isha Upanishad: Analysis


enter into a blind darkness of Ignorance. For this tendency is one of increasing contraction and limitation, disaggregation of the gains of knowledge and greater and greater subjection to the mechanical necessities of Prakriti and finally to her separative and self-destructive forces. To turn away from the progression towards Oneness is to turn away from existence and from light. Those who are devoted entirely to the principle of indiscriminate Unity and seek to put away from them the integrality of the Brahman, also put away from them knowledge and completeness and enter as if into a greater darkness. They enter into some special state and accept it for the whole, mistaking exclusion in consciousness for transcendence in consciousness. They ignore by choice of knowledge, as the others are ignorant by compulsion of error. Knowing all to transcend all is the right path of Vidya. Although a higher state than the other, this supreme Night is termed a greater darkness, because the lower is one of chaos from which reconstitution is always possible, the higher is a conception of Void or Asat, an attachment to non-existence of Self from which it is more difficult to return to fulfilment of Self. THE GAINS IN EITHER PATH Pursued with a less entire attachment the paths of Vidya and Avidya have each their legitimate gains for the human soul, but neither of these are the full and perfect thing undertaken by the individual in the manifestation. By Vidya one may attain to the state of the silent Brahman or the Akshara Purusha regarding the universe without actively participating in it or to His self-absorbed state of Chit in Sat from which the universe proceeds and towards which it returns. Both these states are conditions of serenity, plenitude, freedom from the confusions and sufferings of the world. But the highest goal of man is neither fulfilment in the movement as a separate individual nor in the Silence separated from the movement, but in the Uttama Purusha, the Lord, He who went abroad and upholds in Himself both the Kshara and the


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Akshara as modes of His being. The self of man, the Jivatman, is here in order to realise in the individual and for the universe that one highest Self of all. The ego created by Avidya is a necessary mechanism for affirming individuality in the universal as a starting-point for this supreme achievement. By Avidya one may attain to a sort of fullness of power, joy, world-knowledge, largeness of being, which is that of the Titans or of the Gods, of Indra, of Prajapati. This is gained in the path of self-enlargement by an ample acceptance of the multiplicity in all its possibilities and a constant enrichment of the individual by all the materials that the universe can pour into him. But this also is not the goal of man; for though it brings transcendence of the ordinary human limits, it does not bring the divine transcendence of the universe in the Lord of the universe. One transcends confusion of Ignorance, but not limitation of Knowledge, — transcends death of the body, but not limitation of being, — transcends subjection to sorrow, but not subjection to joy, — transcends the lower Prakriti, but not the higher. To gain the real freedom and the perfect Immortality one would have to descend again to all that had been rejected and make the right use of death, sorrow and ignorance. The real knowledge is that which perceives Brahman in His integrality and does not follow eagerly after one consciousness rather than another, is no more attached to Vidya than to Avidya. This was the knowledge of the ancient sages who were dh¯ra, steadfast in the gaze of their thought, not drawn ı away from the completeness of knowledge by one light or by another and whose perception of Brahman was consequently entire and comprehensive and their teaching founded on that perception equally entire and comprehensive (vicacaksire). It is . the knowledge handed down from these Ancients that is being set forth in the Upanishad. THE COMPLETE PATH Brahman embraces in His manifestation both Vidya and Avidya and if they are both present in the manifestation, it is because

Isha Upanishad: Analysis


they are both necessary to its existence and its accomplishment. Avidya subsists because Vidya supports and embraces it; Vidya depends upon Avidya for the preparation and the advance of the soul towards the great Unity. Neither could exist without the other; for if either were abolished, they would both pass away into something which would be neither the one nor the other, something inconceivable and ineffable beyond all manifestation. In the worst Ignorance there is some point of the knowledge which constitutes that form of Ignorance and some support of Unity which prevents it in its most extreme division, limitation, obscurity from ceasing to exist by dissolving into nothingness. The destiny of the Ignorance is not that it should be dissolved out of existence, but that its elements should be enlightened, united, that which they strive to express delivered, fulfilled and in the fulfilment transmuted and transfigured. In the uttermost unity of which knowledge is capable the contents of the Multiplicity are inherent and implicit and can any moment be released into activity. The office of Vidya is not to destroy Avidya as a thing that ought never to have been manifested but to draw it continually towards itself, supporting it the while and helping it to deliver itself progressively from that character of Ignorance, of the oblivion of its essential Oneness, which gives it its name. Avidya fulfilled by turning more and more to Vidya enables the individual and the universal to become what the Lord is in Himself, conscious of His manifestation, conscious of His non-manifestation, free in birth, free in non-birth. Man represents the point at which the multiplicity in the universe becomes consciously capable of this turning and fulfilment. His own natural fulfilment comes by following the complete path of Avidya surrendering itself to Vidya, the Multiplicity to the Unity, the Ego to the One in all and beyond all, and of Vidya accepting Avidya into itself, the Unity fulfilling the Multiplicity, the One manifesting Himself unveiled in the individual and in the universe.



By Avidya fulfilled man passes beyond death, by Vidya accepting Avidya into itself he enjoys immortality. By death is meant the state of mortality which is a subjection to the process of constant birth and dying as a limited ego bound to the dualities of joy and sorrow, good and evil, truth and error, love and hatred, pleasure and suffering. This state comes by limitation and self-division from the One who is all and in all and beyond all and by attachment of the idea of self to a single formation in Time and Space of body, life and mind, by which the Self excludes from its view all that it verily is with the exception of a mass of experiences flowing out from and in upon a particular centre and limited by the capacities of a particular mental, vital and bodily frame. This mass of experiences it organises around the ego-centre in the mind and linking them together in Time by a double action of memory, passive in state, active in work, says continually, “This is I.” The result is that the soul attributes to itself a certain portion only of the play of Prakriti or Chit-Shakti and consequently a certain limited capacity of force of consciousness which has to bear all the impact of what the soul does not regard as itself but as a rush of alien forces; against them it defends its separate formation of individuality from dissolution into Nature or mastery by Nature. It seeks to assert in the individual form and by its means its innate character of Ish or Lord and so to possess and enjoy its world. But by the very definition of the ego its capacity is limited. It accepts as itself a form made of the movement of Nature which cannot endure in the general flux of things. It has to form it by the process of the movement and this is birth, it dissolves it by the process of the movement and this is death. It can master by the understanding only so much of its experiences as assimilate with its own view-point and in a way

Isha Upanishad: Analysis


which must always be imperfect and subject to error because it is not the view of all or the view-point of the All. Its knowledge is partly error and all the rest it ignores. It can only accept and harmonise itself with a certain number of its experiences, precisely because these are the only ones it can understand sufficiently to assimilate. This is its joy; the rest is sorrow or indifference. It is only capable of harmonising with the force in its body, nerves and mind a certain number of impacts of alien forces. In these it takes pleasure. The rest it receives with insensibility or pain. Death therefore is the constant denial by the All of the ego’s false self-limitation in the individual frame of mind, life and body. Error is the constant denial by the All of the ego’s false sufficiency in a limited knowledge. Suffering of mind and body is the constant denial by the All of the ego’s attempt to confine the universal Ananda to a false and self-regarding formation of limited and exclusive enjoyments. It is only by accepting the oneness of the All that the individual can escape from this constant and necessary denial and attain beyond. Then All-being, All-force, All-consciousness, All-truth, All-delight take possession of the individual soul. It changes mortality for immortality.

But the way of attaining to immortality is not by the selfdissolution of the individual formation into the flux of Prakriti, neither is it by prematurely dissolving it into the All-soul which Prakriti expresses. Man moves towards something which fulfils the universe by transcending it. He has to prepare his individual soul for the transcendence and for the fulfilment. If Avidya is the cause of mortality, it is also the path out of mortality. The limitation has been created precisely in order that the individual may affirm himself against the flux of Prakriti in


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order eventually to transcend, possess and transform it. The first necessity is therefore for man continually to enlarge himself in being, knowledge, joy, power in the limits of the ego so that he may arrive at the conception of something which progressively manifests itself in him in these terms and becomes more and more powerful to deal with the oppositions of Prakriti and to change, individually, more and more the terms of ignorance, suffering and weakness into the terms of knowledge, joy and power and even death into a means of wider life. This self-enlargement has then to awaken to the perception of something exceeding itself, exceeding the personal manifestation. Man has so to enlarge his conception of self as to see all in himself and himself in all (verse 6). He has to see that this “I” which contains all and is contained in all, is the One, is universal and not his personal ego. To That he has to subject his ego, That he has to reproduce in his nature and become, That is what he has to possess and enjoy with an equal soul in all its forms and movements. He has to see that this universal One is something entirely transcendent, the sole Being, and that the universe and all its forms, actions, egos are only becomings of that Being (verse 7). World is a becoming which seeks always to express in motion of Time and Space, by progression in mind, life and body what is beyond all becoming, beyond Time and Space, beyond mind, life and body. Thus Avidya becomes one with Vidya. By Avidya man passes beyond that death, suffering, ignorance, weakness which were the first terms he had to deal with, the first assertions of the One in the birth affirming Himself amid the limitations and divisions of the Multiplicity. By Vidya he enjoys even in the birth the Immortality.

Immortality does not mean survival of the self or the ego after dissolution of the body. The Self always survives the dissolution of the body, because it always pre-existed before the birth of

Isha Upanishad: Analysis


the body. The Self is unborn and undying. The survival of the ego is only the first condition by which the individual soul is able to continue and link together its experiences in Avidya so as to pursue with an increasing self-possession and mastery that process of self-enlargement which culminates in Vidya. By immortality is meant the consciousness which is beyond birth and death, beyond the chain of cause and effect, beyond all bondage and limitation, free, blissful, self-existent in consciousbeing, the consciousness of the Lord, of the supreme Purusha, of Sachchidananda.

On this realisation man can base his free activity in the universe. But having so far attained, what further utility has the soul for birth or for works? None for itself, everything for God and the universe. Immortality beyond the universe is not the object of manifestation in the universe, for that the Self always possessed. Man exists in order that through him the Self may enjoy Immortality in the birth as well as in the non-becoming. Nor is individual salvation the end; for that would only be the sublime of the ego, not its self-realisation through the Lord in all. Having realised his own immortality, the individual has yet to fulfil God’s work in the universe. He has to help the life, the mind and the body in all beings to express progressively Immortality and not mortality. This he may do by the becoming in the material body which we ordinarily call birth, or from some status in another world or even, it is possible, from beyond world. But birth in the body is the most close, divine and effective form of help which the liberated can give to those who are themselves still bound to the progression of birth in the lowest world of the Ignorance.

Because of these two positions of the Self. moving in the movement and seated above the movement. the state of Birth. it changes its states and forms. 14. This entry into various states and forms in the succession of Time is Birth in Nature. other that which comes by the Non-Birth. is that which comes by the Birth. the state of Non-Birth. . He who knows That as both in one. * 12. active in the development and eating the fruits of the tree of Life or inactive and simply regarding. the Birth and the dissolution of Birth. by the dissolution crosses beyond death and by the Birth enjoys Immortality. Into a blind darkness they enter who follow after the Non-Birth. this is the lore we have received from the wise who revealed That to our understanding. in Nature and out of Nature. it is said. 13. the dissolution of the ego-sense brings us to the NonBirth. The knot of the Birth is the ego-sense. there are two possible states of conscious existence directly opposed to each other of which the human soul is capable. verily. Man starts from the troubled state of Birth. he arrives at that tranquil poise of conscious existence liberated from the movement which is the Non-Birth.VI THIRD MOVEMENT [3] Birth and Non-Birth Verses 12 – 14* THE BIRTH AND THE NON-BIRTH The Self outside Nature does not become. Other. Therefore the Non-Birth is also called the Dissolution (Vinasha). The Self in Nature becomes. they as if into a greater darkness who devote themselves to the Birth alone. it is immutable as well as eternal.

He is liberated from birth as soon as the present impulse of Nature which continues the action of the mind and body has been exhausted. THE GOOD OF THE EXTREMES On the other hand each of these tendencies. It is not an error in the grasping after truth.Isha Upanishad: Analysis 61 Birth and Non-Birth are not essentially physical conditions. Exclusive attachment to Non-Birth leads to a dissolution into indiscriminate Nature or into the Nihil. then he is not born again in the body. has its own fruit and its own good. but if he concentrates himself solely in the state of dissolution of ego. a worse darkness than the other. from a certain point of view. THE EVIL OF THE EXTREMES Neither attachment to Non-Birth nor attachment to Birth is the perfect way. On the other hand if he attaches himself to the Birth. but from existence into its opposite. for it is ignorant even of the impulse of release. a state of blind darkness. attachment to Birth in the body means a constant self-limitation and an interminable round of egoistic births in the lower forms of egoism without issue or release. because it does not dream of any higher condition. pursued with a certain relativeness to the other. For the Nihil is an attempt not to transcend the state of existence in birth. It cannot lead even eventually to any greater good. On the other hand. Its end also is ignorance. a state of ignorance and not of release. into the Void. and both of these are states of blind darkness. not to pass from a limited into an illimitable existence. For all attachment is an act of ignorance and a violence committed upon the Truth. but a perpetual contentment with the state of blindness. but soul-states. the ego-principle in him seeks continually to clothe itself in fresh mental and physical forms. The opposite of existence can only be the Night of negative consciousness. . but to annul it. A man may break the knot of the ego-sense and yet remain in the physical body. This is.

62 Isha Upanishad: Part One Non-Birth pursued as the goal of Birth and a higher. The necessity of birth ceases. THE PERFECT WAY But neither of these results is perfect in itself nor the true goal of humanity. It is by participation in the pure unity of the Immobile (Akshara) Brahman that the soul is released from its absorption in the stream of the movement. pursued as a means of progress and self-enlargement. Thus by dissolution of ego and of the attachment to birth the soul crosses beyond death. become a vestibule to the final achievement. Brahman is both Vidya and Avidya. leads to a greater and fuller life which may. Each of them brings its intended portion into the perfect good of the human soul only when it is completed by the other. both Birth and NonBirth. So released it identifies itself with the Lord to whom becoming and non-becoming are only modes of His existence and is able to enjoy immortality in the manifestation without being caught in the wheel of Nature’s delusions. in its turn. This would be from the synthetic standpoint the justification of the great effort of Buddhism to exceed the conception of all positive being even in its widest or purest essentiality. Having attained this liberation it accepts becoming . its personal object having been fulfilled. For the Divine enjoys equally and simultaneously the freedom of His eternity and the freedom of His becoming. Birth. It may even be said that to have had the conscious experience of a dissolution of the very idea of Being into the supreme NonBeing is necessary for the fullest and freest possession of Being itself. the freedom of becoming remains. The one is necessary to the other. it is liberated from all limitation in the dualities. fuller and truer existence may lead to withdrawal into the silent Brahman or into the pure liberty of the Non-Being. The realisation of the Self as the unborn and the poise of the soul beyond the dualities of birth and death in the infinite and transcendent existence are the conditions of a free and divine life in the Becoming.

the Lord. but here in the material body it is to be worked out and enjoyed by the divine Inhabitant under circumstances that are in appearance the most opposite to its terms. Realiser of their actualities. Works are the essence of Life. But it is enjoyed by a free and divine becoming in the universe and not outside the universe. the sevenfold movement of the divine Existence. which were enjoined upon the seeker of the Truth in its second verse. the third movement of the Upanishad is a justification of life and works. in the life of the individual and in the multiple life of the universe. in Brahman the Life Principle arranges a harmony of the seven principles of conscious being by which that manifestation works out its involution and evolution. THE JUSTIFICATION OF LIFE Thus. Life is a manifestation of the Brahman. the ever-free. for there it is always possessed. development and goal from years sempiternal. That divine Existence is the Lord who has gone abroad in the movement and unrolled the universe in His three modes as All-Seer of the Truth of things. the Eternal. In Brahman Matarishwan disposes the waters. Life has to be transcended in order that it may be freely . consciousness of essential unity and consciousness of phenomenal multiplicity. This Immortality is gained by the dissolution of the limited ego and its chain of births into the consciousness of the unborn and undying. Afterwards by development in the Ignorance the soul returns to the capacity of Knowledge and enjoys by the Knowledge Immortality. He has determined all things sovereignly in their own nature.Isha Upanishad: Analysis 63 as a process of Nature subject to the soul and not binding upon it and by this free and divine becoming enjoys Immortality. That determination works out through His double power of Vidya and Avidya. The Multiplicity carried to its extreme limit returns upon itself in the conscious individual who is the Lord inhabiting the forms of the movement and enjoying first the play of the Ignorance. Thinker-out of their possibilities.

64 Isha Upanishad: Part One accepted. the works of the universe have to be overpassed in order that they may be divinely fulfilled. but it has to go back to the consciousness of freedom and possess and enjoy universally not this or that but the Divine and the All. . The soul even in apparent bondage is really free and only plays at being bound.

for sight. The Purusha there and there. that in Thee I behold. O illumining Sun. 16. . the Lustre which is thy most blessed form of all. but here it is a state of consciousness that seems to be indicated and not a world. The face of Truth is covered with a brilliant golden lid. the worlds after death. For the individual soul out of the body must either disappear into the general constituents of its existence. will be our state of consciousness and the surroundings organised by it when the mental being passes out of the body. O power of the Father of creatures. O sole Seer. This state of consciousness and the relations belonging to it are the other worlds. * 15. O Ordainer. He am I. Nevertheless. In its third movement it also speaks twice of the soul entering into a blind gloom. for in the Vedantic conception a world is only a condition of conscious being organised in the terms of the seven constituent principles of manifested existence. O Fosterer. marshal thy rays. that do thou remove. for the law of the Truth. O Fosterer. draw together thy light.VII FOURTH MOVEMENT [1] The Worlds — Surya Verses 15 – 16* THE WORLDS AFTER DEATH In the third verse the Upanishad has spoken of sunless worlds enveloped in blind gloom. merge itself into Brahman or persist in an organisation of consciousness other than the terrestrial and in relations with the universe other than those which are appropriate to life in the body. the two statements differ little in effect. According to the state of consciousness which we reach here in the body.

but is dwelling “in Avidya and enclosed within it”. The Upanishad. beyond manifestation can yet enter into forms as the Inhabitant and embrace Nature as its lord. REBIRTH The attainment of a better life or lives upon earth is not the consummation offered to the soul by the thought of the Upanishad. 8. 2. ¯ ¯ ¯ ¯. Mundaka I. but may still participate in the entire movement and return to birth no longer for its own sake but for the sake of others and according to the will in it of its divine Self. Immortality stands in the Self. 5. But it is an important intermediate object so long as the soul is in a state of growth and self-enlargement and has not attained to liberation. the Lord of its movement. 1 Avidyayam antare vartamanah. The two former conditions appertain to the Becoming. but having no relation with the actual or possible contents of its infinite consciousness. — especially in the 17th verse. . — a better or more fortunate life or lives upon earth. eternal enjoyment of bliss in an ultra-terrestrial world of light and joy or a transcendence exclusive of all universal existence. in the Non-Birth. although it does not speak expressly of rebirth in an earthly body. 2. After liberation the soul is free. merged in the Supreme as in one’s true self. — Katha Upanishad I. — terrestrial life by birth in the body. and enjoys the Becoming. yet implies that belief in its thought and language. The obligation of birth and death is a sign that the mental being has not yet unified itself with its true supramental self and spirit. On the basis of this belief in rebirth man may aim at three distinct objects beyond death. the survival of the individual soul after death in other states and the immortal existence which being beyond birth and death.66 Isha Upanishad: Part One THE THREE STATES The Upanishad admits three states of the soul in relation to the manifested universe.1 To attain that union the life of man upon earth is its appointed means.

During this interval it must dwell in states or worlds beyond and these may be favourable or unfavourable to its future development. — on the contrary. self-obscuration and self-distortion are the nature of the Hells which it has to shun. but states of intermediate ignorance or darkness are harmful to the soul in its progress. the mental being in man is not so rigidly bound to the vital and physical. But Vedantic thought did not envisage rebirth as an immediate entry after death into a new body. the latter are ordinarily dissolved together after death. accepting in them a means towards the divine manifestation in which they form a condition of its fullness. darkness. each being one of the parts in a series of organised states of conscious being which is linked with and supports all the rest. therefore. They are favourable in proportion as the light of the Supreme Truth of which Surya is a symbol enters into them. an interval in which it assimilates its terrestrial experiences in order to be able to constitute a new vital and physical being upon earth. The soul need not and should not push transcendence so far as to aim at its . but it does not exclude the possession of that which is transcended. In relation to the soul’s individual development.Isha Upanishad: Analysis HEAVEN AND HELL 67 The enjoyment of beatitude in a heaven beyond is also not the supreme consummation. the life in worlds beyond. as has been affirmed in the third verse. and there must therefore be. before the soul is attracted back towards terrestrial existence. The Vedantic heavens are states of light and the soul’s expansion. is a means and not an object in itself. who do hurt to themselves by shutting themselves to the light or distorting the natural course of their development. Those enter into them. TRANSCENDENCE Transcendence is the goal of the development. like the life upon earth. After liberation the soul may possess these worlds as it possesses the material birth.

but in manifestation it becomes a complex rhythm. but not of all possibility of manifestation. The desire of the exclusive liberation is the last desire that the soul in its expanding knowledge has to abandon. Therefore Spirit can be regarded as a triune basis of all conscious being. purifying and perfecting human action. For what we call a state is only the organisation of a complex movement. For all pure existence is in its essence pure self-conscience and all pure self-conscience is in its essence pure self-delight. the delusion that it is bound by birth is the last delusion that it has to destroy. pure in self-delight (Ananda). All conscious being is one and indivisible in itself. a scale of harmonies. the other of the divine Will raising. THE ORDER OF THE WORLDS To understand entirely the place and function of Surya we must enter a little more profoundly into the Vedic conception of the seven worlds and the principles of consciousness they represent. pure in self-awareness (Chit). SURYA AND AGNI On the basis of this conception of the worlds and the relation of these different soul-states to each other the Upanishad proceeds to indicate the two lines of knowledge and action which lead to the supreme vision and the divine felicity. but they are really one. Nirvana is extinction of the ego-limitations. This is done under the form of an invocation to Surya and Agni. the Vedic godheads.68 Isha Upanishad: Part One own extinction. since it can be possessed even in the body. a hierarchy of states or movements. representative one of the supreme Truth and its illuminations. This hierarchy is composed by a descending or involutive and an ascending or evolutive movement of which Spirit and Matter are the highest and lowest terms. Spirit is Sat or pure existence. There are three terms. At the same time our consciousness is capable of separating these three by the Idea and the Word and even of .

Force or Energy.Isha Upanishad: Analysis 69 creating for itself in its divided or limited movements the sense of their apparent opposites. the worlds are created. ¯ bhava). other than its works. one with the movement of existence. being self-conscious. is obviously of the nature of Will. the result is Tapoloka or world of energy of self-conscience. The power by which the self-conscience brings out of itself its potential complexities is termed Tapas. The soul in Satyaloka is one with all its manifestations by oneness of essence and therefore one in self-conscience and in energy of self-conscience and one also in bliss. Tapas or Chit-Shakti. When Tapas dwells upon active power of Chit as its basis. something exterior to its object. But not Will as we understand it. — self-conscious Will that becomes what it sees and knows in itself. labouring on material outside itself. Will that is expressed as Force of its own work and formulates itself in the result of its work. . When Tapas or energy of self-conscience dwells upon Sat or pure existence as its basis. THE HIGHER WORLDS All organisation of self-conscient being which takes as its basis the unity of pure existence belongs to the world of the highest ¯ creation. parardha. inherent in the becoming. The working of this potential complexity and multiplicity in the One is what we call from our point of view manifestation or creation or world or becoming — (bhuvana. Without it no world-existence is possible. The agent of this becoming is always the self-conscience of the Being. An integral intuition into the nature of conscious being shows us that it is indeed one in essence. the result is Satyaloka or world of true existence. The soul in Tapoloka is one with all manifestations in this Energy and therefore enjoys oneness also in the totality of their bliss and possesses equally their unity of essence. — the worlds of the Spirit. but also that it is capable of an infinite potential complexity and multiplicity in self-experience. but Will inherent in the Being. and. By this Will. We can conceive three principal formations.

So also. . Life and Mind are present involved or evolving. that luminous oneness is Surya’s most blessed form of all. All is in all.70 Isha Upanishad: Part One When Tapas dwells upon active Delight of being as its basis. There is no night. any dominant action of illuminating Surya. Life and Mind have some kind of material form as the condition of their activities. All these are states of consciousness in which unity and multiplicity have not yet been separated from each other. properly speaking. So at least it appears to us in the ascending or evolutive movement. the world of formal becoming. owing to their domination by the dividing principle of Avidya. It is liberated from the involution and obscurity by delight of being struggling to become conscious of itself in desire and sensation. Life. Our consciousness is determined by the divisibility of extended substance in its apparent forms. The distinct existence of Surya is lost in the oneness of the Lord or Purusha. world of creative Delight. inherently. by the very nature of conscious being and without effort of conception or travail of perception. Wherever there is Matter. Sat or pure existence appears there as extended substance or Matter. These three appear not as triune. Will or Force appears as Life which is in its nature creative or manifesting Force and that Force is in its nature a self-conscient will involved and obscure in the forms of its creation. Matter. and Mind. Tapas dwells upon Matter as its basis. This is Bhurloka. In the organisation of consciousness to which we belong. The soul in Janaloka is one in delight of being with all manifestation and through that bliss one also in conscious energy and in essence of being. THE LOWER CREATION In the lower creation also there are three principles. each in all and all in each. but as triple. For the whole of consciousness there is self-luminous and needs no light other than itself. Neither is there. no obscurity. the result is Janaloka. the material world. the result is the emergence of Mind.

We may conceive also of an organised state of consciousness in which Mind liberates itself from subjection to material sensation and becoming dominant determines its own forms instead of being itself determined by the forms in which it finds itself as a result of life evolution. out of the direct identity of the supreme Self. . There dominant individualisation no longer usurps the all-pervading soul and the foundation of consciousness is its own vast totality arranging in itself individualised movements which never lose the consciousness of their integrality and total oneness with all others. This world is therefore called Maharloka or world of large consciousness.2 not intellectual 2 Intuition (revelation. is imprisoned in the night of the subconscient or appears only reflected in limited centres or with its rays received by those centres and utilised according to their individual nature. In these lower worlds consciousness is normally broken up and divided. but even in the complexity of its movements always refers back to essential unity and its own integral totality. This organisation of consciousness has for its field Bhuvarloka. pure and luminous mentality. the worlds of free vital becoming in form. intuitive perception. his absolute self-conscious Truth knowing herself by her own power of absolute Light without any need of seeking. Gnosis or true supermind is a power above mind working in its own law. THE INTERMEDIATE WORLD Between these two creations. But this Vijnana is intuitional or rather gnostic Idea. the Truth. This formation is Swarloka or world of free. linking them together. The light of Surya. the Idea. Multiplicity no longer prevails and divides. intuitive discrimination) is Vijnana working in mind under the conditions and in the forms of mind.Isha Upanishad: Analysis 71 But we may conceive of a world in which dynamic Lifeforce with sensation emergent in it is the basis and determines without the gross obstacle of Matter the forms that it shall take. inspiration. even the most luminous seeking. The principle of Maharloka is Vijnana. is the world or organisation of consciousness of which the infinite Truth of things is the foundation.

but not in their nature truth of existence. It is this intuition or gnosis which is the Vedic Truth. but determines itself in the form of the idea and once determined distinguishes itself sharply from other conceptions. that we have a separate existence from others and we try to know the relations of separate beings in their separateness and act on the knowledge so formed for an individual utility. which are indeed a means of knowledge. Our present action is one in which self-knowledge and will are divided. . starting therefore from the totality of all existence and perceiving directly its contents. It is one with the existence which throws out the form as a symbol of itself and it therefore carries with it always the knowledge of the Truth behind the form. By them we arrange our knowledge of the appearances of things and try to infer the truth behind. The true knowledge is truth of existence. For this it is necessary that the law and action of the Truth should be manifested in us. Its nature is drsti. It is in its nature self-conscience of the being and power of the One. The difference is that intellectual conception not only tends towards form. For we are mental beings and our highest ordinary mental sight is composed of the concepts and percepts of the mind. We can only arrive at the true Truth. covered. seeing. its forms created by the .72 Isha Upanishad: Part One conception. rays of the Truth. see ourselves as we are. We must learn to see things as they are. not mere truth of form or appearance.. if Surya works in us to remove this brilliant formation of concepts and percepts and replaces them by the self-vision and all-vision. But pure intuitional or gnostic Idea sees itself in the Being as well as in the Becoming. from the view of our human consciousness. of the essence and the image. It is the vision at once . that is to say. as with a golden lid. not conceiving. the self-vision and all-vision of Surya. aware always of its totality. satyam. THE LAW OF THE TRUTH The face of this Truth is covered as with a brilliant shield. We start with a fundamental falsehood. The law of the Truth would work in us if we saw the totality of our existence containing all others. only truth of form.

becomes the ordainer of the right law of action in us. its powers working in and by the action of the totality. Thus we arrive at the fullness of action of the Illuminer in us. Our internal and external action would then well naturally and directly out of our self-existence. the Purusha. fosterer or increaser. In this formation the Upanishad indicates two successive actions. For Surya is Yama. the Ordainer or Controller who assures the law. All becoming is born in the Being who himself exceeds all becomings and is their Lord.Isha Upanishad: Analysis 73 action of the totality. yet preserves itself in the essence and works to lead us by increasing light and largeness to truth in the manifestation. THE FULFILMENT OF SURYA IN MAN Nevertheless even in our ordinary action there is the beginning or at least the seed of the Truth which must liberate us. Prajapati. Behind all this travail of differentiation and division there is an insistent unifying tendency which is also continually falsified in the separate result. He is sole seer and replacing other forms of knowledge by his unifying vision enables us to arrive finally at oneness. Behind every act and perception there is an intuition. By the revelation of the vision of Surya the true knowledge is formed. the law of the Truth. accomplish the entirety of the Truth-Consciousness. We are then able to see that all that is contained in the being of Surya. of one in All and All in one. the truths concealed behind our concepts . in the Vijnana which builds up the worlds is becoming of existence in the one existence and one Lord of all becoming. Sachchidananda. out of the very truth of things and not in obedience to an intermediate principle which is in its nature a falsifying reflection. that is to say. a truth which. the dharma. That intuitive vision of the totality. Surya is Pushan. His work must be to effect this enlargement of the divided self-perception and action of will into the integral will and knowledge. if it is continually falsified in the form. but yet leads persistently towards our eventual integrality in knowledge. First. in being and in will. there is an arrangement or marshalling of the rays of Surya.

a sum or a void. The Purusha there and there. He am I. the perfect seeing. by thus gradually correcting the manner of its own characteristic action it can succeed in reversing that characteristic action itself and learn to proceed from the whole to the contents instead of proceeding from “parts”3 mistaken for entities to an apparent whole which is still a “part” and still mistaken for an entity. This is the Lord. the supreme Will. . expressed in the great cry of the Upanishad. the Purusha. the self-conscient Being. there is the integral self-knowledge. but with the help and by the operation of the higher faculty. existence being indivisible. so’ham. The mind can hardly conceive unity except as an abstraction.74 Isha Upanishad: Part One and percepts are brought out by separate intuitions of the image and the essence of the image and arranged in their true relations to each other. the supreme Delight of existence. start at once from the totality and perceive its contents from within. So we arrive at totalities of intuitive knowledge and can finally go beyond to unity. Afterwards. This is Surya’s goodliest form of all. THE ONE EXISTENT Thus by the action of Surya we arrive at that light of the supreme superconscient in which even the intuitive knowledge of the truth of things based upon the total vision passes into the self-luminous self-vision of the one existent. For it is the supreme Light. When we have this vision. but following the very action of the Truth of existence itself. but it is One 3 There are really no parts. It has to carry out its own characteristic action of arrangement. This is the drawing together of the light of Surya. Therefore it has to be gradually led from its own manner to that which exceeds it. no longer arbitrarily. one in all infinite complexities of a self-experience which never loses its unity or its self-luminousness. The Lord manifests Himself in the movements and inhabits many forms. like the original Truth-consciousness. This double movement is necessitated by the constitution of our minds which cannot.

Isha Upanishad: Analysis 75 who inhabits all. It is the All. this real “I” whom the mental being individualised in the form is aware of as his true self — it is He. This self-conscient being. and it is that which transcends the All. .

The individual. accepting division as his law. but of this body ashes are the end. isolating himself * 17. To thee completest speech of submission we address. OM! O Will. that which was done remember! O Will. Power or Will-in-Consciousness. remember. Both consciousness and life are included in the formula of Immortality. 11. supreme and all-embracing Soul. that which was done remember. 2. The prayer to Agni completes the prayer to Surya. Consciousness by energy. 1 Suryadvarena. And as Surya represents the divine Light. — Mundaka Upanishad I. 18. unity is the true foundation. Knowledge is incomplete without action. . THE INDIVIDUAL WILL As in knowledge. remove from us the devious attraction of sin. The Breath of things is an immortal life. lead us by the good path to the felicity. remember. ¯ ¯ . the limited consciousness attains to the full consciousness and life in the one. O god Agni.VIII FOURTH MOVEMENT [2] Action and the Divine Will Verses 17 – 18* THE SIDE OF ACTION Through Surya then. through the growth of the illumination in the mind which enables it eventually to pass beyond itself. It is by the Sun as a door or gate1 that the individual. so Agni to the ancient Rishis represented divine Force. we have the first principle of progress from mortality to immortality. so in action. Chit fulfils itself by Tapas. knowing all things that are manifested.

in neither one with the integral knowledge and the total working and total will in the universe. This Will is Agni. the “son . AGNI. obscure and ignorant in his workings. tending towards Love and Harmony. at best. it is subject to the twin children of the Ignorance. suffering and falsehood. Being neither one-visioned nor whole-visioned.Isha Upanishad: Analysis 77 in his own egoistic limits. Governed by desire. the divine Horse that bears us on the road. therefore. it beats about among falsehoods to find the Truth. a broken partial and shifting light. Not having the divine Truth and Right. many-branching. so there is in and behind all our errors. stumbles among errors and sins to find the right. His action. The emergence of this Will and that Light is the condition of immortality. the individual will cannot walk straight on the right or good path towards the Truth and the Immortality. which knows where it is going and prepares and combines our crooked branchings towards the straight path which will be the final result of their toil and seeking. the leader of the journey. He is described as the immortal in mortals. narrow in its subjectivity. He follows in his aims and in his methods a knowledge that is personal. tosses or scrapes fragments together to piece out the whole. the flame of the Divine Will or Force of Consciousness working in the worlds. He lives by rays and not in the full blaze of the Sun. exposed to the shock of the forces around it with which its egoism and ignorance forbid it to put itself in harmony. sins and stumblings a secret Will. from which the closing verse of the Upanishad is taken. having neither the totality of the universal Will nor the concentrated oneness of the transcendent. hesitating and fluctuating in its impulsion and direction. obscure subconscious impulses or. THE DIVINE WILL But as there is in and behind all the falsehoods of our material mind and reason a Light that prepares by this twilight the full dawn of the Truth in man. it cannot have the divine Felicity. is necessarily mortal. governed by desire. is crooked. habits of thought. His knowledge is narrow in its objectivity. Agni is in the Rig Veda.

dispels the darkness. the Life-principle. It is these symbols which govern the sense of the two final verses of the Upanishad. upheld by Agni. sin and suffering and transforms Life into the Immortality. he uses them to transcend them and emerges as the universal in Man or universal Power. He is the worker of the divine Work. the beatitude. Surya is the Creator or manifester. action. For Matter is the principle of obscurity and . prepare the action of Indra. who is for our life-powers their Rishi or finder of the Truth and Right. in Life. The Vedic gods are a parable of human life emerging. ashes are its end. Life calls down the divine Will from the Truthconsciousness into the realm of mind and body to prepare here. who manifests in this mortal world the world or state of immortality. causes Surya to rise upon our being and go abroad over its whole field with the rays of the Truth. the good. is he who brings down Agni from Surya in the high and far-off supreme world. Agni Vaishwanara. mounting. who contains in himself all the gods and all the worlds. a dwelling-place of the Purusha in which he presides over the activities generated out of the Life-principle. the luminous Mind. the Immortality. It is said in the Veda that Vayu or Matarishwan. dispels the evil dream of egoism. will. THE IMMORTAL LIFE-PRINCIPLE Life is the condition from which the Will and the Light emerge.78 Isha Upanishad: Part One of crookedness” who himself knows and is the straightness and the Truth. the Coverer. upholds all the universal workings and finally fulfils the godhead. Once it is thrown aside by the Life-principle it is dissolved. they. Matter supplies us with the body. lifting itself towards the Godhead. but it is only a temporary knot of the movement. body. Savitri. Concealed and hard to seize in the workings of this world because they are all falsified by desire and egoism. these are our first materials. Indra slays Vritra. Life. Therefore the body is not ourselves. generates the Maruts. its own manifestation. Agni. nervous forces of Life that become forces of thought. enjoying and devouring the things of Life. but only an outer tool and instrument.

as the phrase really means. Will is Kratu. subconscious or superconscious. the Purusha in the mind. Our action is both dispersed and circumscribed because mentally we live from hour to hour in the current of Time. of the body. yet comes into its kingdom only when it emerges in Mind. It associates itself with the perishable body and carries forward the mental being. conscious. It is the assertion of death. and although present in all forms. At first sight it may appear that birth and death are attributes of the Life. because memory is limited. WILL AND MEMORY This journey consists in a series of activities continued from life to life in this world with intervals of life in other states. if that were so. it is energy of consciousness. it is the Will. Immortal man must not identify himself with the body. The Life-principle in us survives. precisely because it is itself immortal. The Life-principle is not formed and dissolved in the formulation and dissolution of the body.Isha Upanishad: Analysis 79 division. the effective power behind the act. the subtle force of existence which is superior to the principle of birth and death. . It is the thread upon which the continuity of our successive bodily lives is arranged. vital. It is the immortal Breath2 or. upon his journey. Life forms body. It is of the nature of consciousness. . of formation and dissolution. The Life-principle maintains them. it supplies their material in the formative energy which takes shape in them. of birth and death. holding only to that which attracts or 2 Anilam amrtam. In man the use of consciousness by the mental will is imperfect. but it is not really so: birth and death are processes of Matter. it is not formed by it. physical or mental. It uses the mental faculty of memory to link together and direct consciously the activities towards the goal of the individual. But their presiding god is not the Life-principle. there could be no continuity of the individual existence and all would go back at death into the formless.

It knows them in the law of their being. The Lord.80 Isha Upanishad: Part One seems immediately useful to our egoistic mind. But as soon as egoistic consciousness emerges and interferes. stands back from the actions and therefore is their lord and not bound by them. its knowledge. but are rather controlled by our past works which we have forgotten. It will thus more and more approximate itself to the true Will and preside over the co-ordination of the successive lives with a conscious control. linking life to life with an increasing force of knowledge and direction until it becomes the fully conscious Will moving with illumination on the straight path towards the immortal felicity. The mental will. all things that take birth in the worlds. its action are inseparable from each other. We live in what we are doing. so as to contain and be conscious of the becoming. Agni. there is a disturbance. in their process and goal. It is this divine Will that conducts the universe. Instead of being carried from life to life in a crooked path. a division. as by winds. in their unity with all and their difference from all. the divine Will. that it does and becomes. a false action. WILL AND KNOWLEDGE The essentiality of the divine Will is that in it Consciousness and Energy. What it is. The Upanishad solemnly invokes the Will to remember the thing that has been done. what it knows. it is one with all the things that it combines and its being. This is because we dwell in the action and its fruits instead of living in the soul and viewing the stream of action from behind it. It knows all manifestations. it knows. that which has right knowledge of all births. in their aim and method. Will becomes . kratu. in their relation to other births. we do not control what has been done. the true Will. it will be able to proceed more and more straight in an ordered series. so as to become a power of knowledge and self-possession and not only a power of impulsion and selfformulation. Knowledge and Force are one. It is Jatavedas. becomes what it at present only represents.

aspires to and fulfils God in the human existence. It is that increasing knowledge and force which carries us finally into the straight or good path out of the crookedness. For knowledge is real and action in harmony with true knowledge only when they proceed naturally out of the conscious. but only striving to possess and inform them. the act and the result. This is because we are not in possession of our self. What we are. Therefore the sign of right action is the increasing and finally the complete submission of the individual to the divine Will which the illumination of Surya reveals in him. in which being. but only of the ego. Knowledge of the Lord as the One in the fully self-conscious being. which leads us towards felicity. knowledge becomes a dubious and partial ray not in possession of the will. And the nature of the two united is an illuminated Devotion which accepts. Agni burns out in us. this Will is not individual. illumined and self-possessing soul. towards the state of Immortality. what we know. all that obscures and drives or draws us into this or that false path with its false lures and stumblings are put away from us by it. submission to the Lord as the universal and transcendent in the fully self-conscious action. 3 Atmavan. we cannot effect.3 our true being. SURRENDER TO THE DIVINE WILL This is the change that happens when. ¯ ¯ . the gates of Immortality. knowledge and action are one movement. are the two keys of the divine gates. we know not. All that belongs to the deviations of the ego. one with the divine knowledge. It is the will of the Purusha who is in all things and transcends them. It is the will of the Lord. Although manifested in his consciousness. the mental will approximating more and more to the divine. It is the divine Will.Isha Upanishad: Analysis 81 an impulsion ignorant of its secret motive and aim. These things fall away from the divinised Will and cease to find lodging in our consciousness.

It is thus a fitting close and consummation to the Upanishad.82 Isha Upanishad: Part One CONCLUSION Thus the fourth movement indicates psychologically the double process of that attainment of Immortality which is the subject of the third movement. the state of bliss and truth within and the worlds of Light after death culminating in the identity of the self-luminous One. . At the same time it particularises under the cover of Vedic symbols the process of that self-knowledge and identification with the Self and all its becomings which is the subject of the second movement and of that liberated action in the assertion of which the first culminates.

the One. It is already face to face with the problem of reconciling human life and activity with the Monistic standpoint and its large solution of the difficulty is one of the most interesting passages of Vedantic literature. Brihadaranyaka and perhaps to the Taittiriya and Aitareya. Renunciation. Cessation of Birth. the Ignorance. in the other and later. exalting the opposite series. the Many. Enjoyment. it still kept close to its Vedic roots. subsequent certainly to the Chhandogya. but certainly the most antique of the extant metrical Upanishads. excised from the list of authoritative Upanishads by one of his greatest followers. Later thought took one series of terms. some of the principal elements of Vedic thought and psychology begin to be omitted or to lose their previous connotation and the foundations of the later ascetic and anti-pragmatic Vedanta begin to appear. Birth. in which the form and thought became more modern and independent of early symbols and origins. Action. THE PRINCIPLE OF THE UPANISHAD The principle it follows throughout is the uncompromising reconciliation of uncompromising extremes. The Isha belongs to the earlier or Vedic group. . It is the sole Upanishad which offered almost insuperable difficulties to the extreme illusionism and anti-pragmatism of Shankaracharya and it was even. — and gave them a more and more secondary position. in one. God. substance and versification. Quietism.IX Conclusion and Summary T HE ISHA Upanishad is one of the more ancient of the Vedantic writings in style. for this reason. Upanishadic thought falls naturally into two great periods. the earlier. the Knowledge. reflected the old psychological system of the Vedic Rishis and preserved what may be called their spiritual pragmatism. — the World.

there realisable and to be possessed and enjoyed. This Upanishad tries instead to get hold of the extreme ends of the knots. although it recognises a dependence of one on the other. . disengage and place them alongside of each other in a release that will be at the same time a right placing and relation. which must be cast aside as soon as possible. it at once rights the balance by reversing the order in the parallel formula “By dissolution having crossed over death by birth one enjoys Immortality”. So great is this scruple in the Upanishad that having so expressed itself in the formula “By the Ignorance having crossed over death by the Knowledge one enjoys Immortality” that Life in the world might be interpreted as only a preliminary to an existence beyond. This thought has never entirely passed out of Indian philosophy. Unity utter and absolute is the goal. but also freedom of the soul from its works must be absolute. but also enjoyment is to be equally integral. In this conclusion it agrees with the early Vedic thought which believed all the worlds and existence and non-existence and death and life and immortality to be here in the embodied human being. but has become secondary and a side admission not strong enough to qualify seriously the increasing assertion of the extinction of mundane existence as the condition of our freedom and our sole wise and worthy aim. not dependent either for acquisition or enjoyment on the renunciation of life and bodily existence. but this absoluteness has to be brought to its highest term by including in it the whole infinite multiplicity of things. and thus makes life itself the field of the immortal existence which is the goal and aspiration of all life.84 Isha Upanishad: Part One until this trend of thought culminated in Illusionism and the idea of existence in the world as a snare and a meaningless burden imposed inexplicably on the soul by itself. Renunciation is to go to the extreme. Action has to be complete and ungrudging. It will not qualify or subordinate unduly any of the extremes. there evolvent. It ended in a violent cutting of the knot of the great enigma.

The One stable Brahman and the multiple Movement. Phenomenal Nature is a movement of the conscious Lord. 4. but the renunciation intended is an absolute renunciation of the principle of desire founded on the principle of egoism and not a renunciation of world-existence. 7. Real integral enjoyment of all this movement and multiplicity in its truth and in its infinity depends upon an absolute renunciation. The general trend of Vedantic thought would accept the renunciation of desire and egoism as the essential but would hold that renunciation of egoism means the renunciation of all world-existence. Works and Knowledge. 6.2 This solution depends on the idea that desire is only an egoistic and vital deformation of the divine Ananda or delight of being from which the 1 This is also the view of the Gita and generally accepted. The object of the movement is to create forms of His consciousness in motion in which He as the one Soul in many bodies can take up his habitation and enjoy the multiplicity and the movement with all their relations. The Conscious Lord and phenomenal Nature. Vidya and Avidya. 9. in the order of their succession: 1. Being and Becoming. 3. Birth and Non-Birth. . The Active Lord and the indifferent Akshara Brahman. 5. admits also the renunciation of world-existence. however. for it sees desire and not Ananda as the cause of world-existence.1 ENJOYMENT AND RENUNCIATION 2. 2. 2 This again is the central standpoint of the Gita. These discords are thus successively resolved: GOD AND NATURE 1. which. Action in Nature and Freedom in the Soul.Isha Upanishad: Analysis THE OPPOSITES 85 The pairs of opposites successively taken up by the Upanishad and resolved are. 8. Renunciation and Enjoyment.

again. . myself and others. Actions are not inconsistent with the soul’s freedom. The Movement is a phenomenon of the Quiescence. THE QUIESCENCE AND THE MOVEMENT 4. But it is no formal. is all these things to our consciousness. be generally admitted. but not the conclusion that is drawn from it. the far and the near. that is to say.86 Isha Upanishad: Part One world is born. the Quiescence itself may be conceived as a Movement too rapid for the gods. for our various functions of consciousness to follow in its real nature. the subjective and the objective. but in itself ineffably superior to all such practical distinctions. This substitution is the essence of the change from life in death to life in immortality. temporal 3 This truth would. by extirpation of ego and desire Ananda again becomes the conscious principle of existence. life and works can and should be accepted in their fullness. founded on oneness of all in the Lord. is what is meant by the enjoyment of Immortality. Brahman. one and many. unity with all existence. What then of the Quiescence of the Supreme Being and how is persistence in the Movement compatible with that Quiescence which is generally recognised as an essential condition of the supreme Bliss? The Quiescence and the Movement are equally one Brahman and the distinction drawn between them is only a phenomenon of our consciousness. The enjoyment of the infinite delight of existence free from ego. unity in himself.3 This done. for the manifestation of the Lord in life and works is the law of our being and the object of our world-existence. Man is not bound by works. He has to recover the consciousness of his inalienable freedom by recovering the consciousness of unity in the Lord. the real existence. ACTION AND FREEDOM 3. internal and external. So it is with the idea of space and time. material. spatial. but only seems to be bound.

and this is born from the delusion of separate existence. want. BEING AND BECOMING 5. the sense of being my separate ego exposed to all these contacts of so much that is not myself.Isha Upanishad: Analysis 87 movement. “I am within. how we look at existence in our soul’s view of things. all forms. this is near to me in Time and Space. for they exist and are included in Brahman’s view of Himself. weakness. but we have not to cease to see the many Becomings. all energies.” All this is true in present relation. that is far. We have to see the One Being. . We have to see all becomings as developments of the movement in our true self and this self as one inhabiting all bodies and not our body only. only a movement in consciousness. Ignorance divides and creates oppositions where there is no opposition but simply relations of one consciousness in itself. all happenings we must see as those of our one and real self in many existences. but this simply means that all Becomings are one Being who places Himself variously in the phenomenal movement of His consciousness. but in essence it is all one indivisible movement of Brahman which is not material movement but a way of seeing things in the one consciousness. and in what is outside. Becomings are many. what we really are. We shall then be delivered from egoism and desire and the sense of separate existence and therefore from all grief and delusion and shrinking. we must see with knowledge and not with ignorance. in our relations with this world. One and Many are both true and are both the same thing: Being is one. We have to realise our true self as the one unchangeable. all else is outside. — this one self becoming everything that we observe. indivisible Brahman. its sense of fear. We have to be consciously. Being and Becoming. Everything depends on what we see. The ego in the body says.. as the play of the Will and Knowledge and Delight of the Lord in His world-existence. Knowledge sees it all as one. dislike. All the movement. for all grief is born of the shrinking of the ego from the contacts of existence. Only. etc.

inseparable from each other. death born of division will be overcome. The knowledge of the One and the knowledge of the Many are a result of the movement of the one consciousness. dependent on each other. It is obvious that we also by becoming one with the Lord would share in this biune conscious existence. it expresses rather their relation in our consciousness once they are admitted as a practical necessity of that consciousness.4 Immortality will be yours. ego will disappear. He is beyond both.88 Isha Upanishad: Part One Get rid of this.5 VIDYA AND AVIDYA 7. . This is a different point of view from that of the identity of the Movement and Quiescence which are one in reality. will disappear. it is His freedom from all He does and becomes and in all He does and becomes. which 4 In the ordinary view all this would be admitted. desire born of the sense of not being this. These are the positive and negative poles of one indivisible consciousness. his dissolution is into the Quiescence and not into unity with the Lord in the action and inaction. It is He who has gone abroad in the movement. The Inactive and the Active Brahman are simply two aspects of the one Self. the one Brahman. who is the Lord. We embrace both in one quiescence and one movement. the free inalienable delight of the One in His own existence will take the place of desire and its satisfactions and dissatisfactions. see oneness everywhere. not having that. be the One manifesting Himself in all creatures. THE ACTIVE AND INACTIVE BRAHMAN 6. The inaction is the basis of the action and exists in the action. 5 In the ordinary view the Jiva cannot exist in both at the same time. the movement to the quiescence. The quiescence exists relatively to the movement. but the practical possibility of maintaining this state of consciousness and birth in the world together would be doubted. He maintains Himself free from all modifications in His inactive existence.

the One. assumes the ego and then dissolving the ego by the recovery of unity realises itself as the Lord. The self is uniform and undying and in itself always possesses immortality. This is our proper course and not either to devote ourselves exclusively to the life of Avidya or to reject it entirely for motionless absorption in the One.Isha Upanishad: Analysis 89 sees all things as One in their truth-Idea but differentiates them in their mentality and formal becoming. Avidya is accepted by the Lord in the Mind (Manishi) in order to develop individual relations to their utmost in all the possibilities of division and its consequences and then through these individual relations to come back individually to the knowledge of the One in all. has to conquer death and division by a developing experience as the individual Inhabitant and finally to recover by the reunited knowledge of the One and the Many the state of Immortality. this becoming is now governed by the true sight of the Seer and. It does not need to descend into Avidya and Birth to get that immortality of Non-Birth. birth becomes a means and not an obstacle to the enjoyment of immortality by . If the mind (Manishi) absorbs itself in God as the formal becoming (Paribhu) and separates itself from God in the true Idea (Kavi). becoming is no longer inconsistent with Being. once this is done. then it loses Vidya. the latter. and Birth as only a becoming of the Lord in mental and formal being. Avidya. BIRTH AND NON-BIRTH 8. the knowledge of the One. thus separated. This is the cause of the separate ego-sense. This seer in ourselves stands back from the mental thinker. The reason for this double movement of the Thinker is that we are intended to realise immortality in the Birth. It accepts Birth and Death. That knowledge has remained all along unabrogated in the consciousness of the true seer or Kavi. It descends in order to realise and possess it as the individual Brahman in the play of world-existence. for it possesses it always. and has only the knowledge of the Many which becomes no longer knowledge at all but ignorance.

the state of Immortality. When that is removed. In our acts also we become one with all beings and our life grows into a representation of oneness. even when they do not go the whole way with the Mayavada. Mental knowledge is not true knowledge. of Surya. WORKS AND KNOWLEDGE 9. The Mind creates the chain and not the body. Therefore in Vijnana or truth-ideation also which comes luminously out of Chit. it is a golden lid placed over the face of the Truth.6 This is our proper course and not to remain for ever in the chain of birth and death. they would say. true knowledge is that which is based on the true sight. There we realise our entire identity with the Lord in all at the very roots of our being. knowing all its acts and their sense and objective. Mahas. the sight of the Seer. replaces the fragmentary mental activity. The bondage does not consist in the physical act of becoming. the Truth-Consciousness. Vijnana leads us to pure knowledge (Jnana). the Lord’s delight in self-being. the all-embracing truth-ideation. 6 This is the stumbling-block to the ordinary philosophies which are impregnated with the idea of the illusoriness of the world. Will and Sight are combined and no longer as in the mind separated from each other. Veda. it cannot subsist along with entire knowledge. Therefore when we have the sight and live in the truth-consciousness. Mental thought is not knowledge. But in Chit. which was always the enjoyment of the Ananda. leads straight to the human goal. the Manas. is a play of ignorance. True Buddhi (Vijnana) emerges from the dissipated action of the Buddhi which is all that is possible on the basis of the sensemind. The opposition between works and knowledge exists as long as works and knowledge are only of the egoistic mental character. . Drishti. Birth.90 Isha Upanishad: Part Two the lord of this formal habitation. but in the persistence of the ignorant sense of the separate ego. of the Kavi. our will becomes the spontaneous law of the truth in us and. sight replaces mental thought. nor to flee from birth into a pure non-becoming. the divine Ideation. the Sight. Will and Seeing are one. pure consciousness (Chit).

In a word. .Isha Upanishad: Analysis 91 truth and divine joy and no longer proceeds on the crooked path of egoism full of division. error and stumbling. we attain to the object of our existence which is to manifest in itself whether on earth in a terrestrial body and against the resistance of Matter or in the worlds beyond or enter beyond all world the glory of the divine Life and the divine Being.


Part Two Incomplete Commentaries from Manuscripts .


and these two are in . “All that is world in the Universe by the Lord must be pervaded.” The very object of our existence is to pierce beyond this last & thinnest veil of matter to Spirit. in other words to realise God in the universe is the object of our existence. This is what we “must” do. but eternal facts. but a possibility which each individual soul has to turn into a fact for itself? In what sense is it said that the object of the individual soul is to pervade the Universe with the Lord? We must remember that according to the Upanishad there are only two entities in existence which are not phenomena or manifestations. universe.Isha Upanishad All that is world in the Universe The Sanscrit word jgt is in origin a reduplicated & therefore ^ frequentative participle from the root gm to go. why does it not say simply “is pervaded”? Is this pervasion then not a fact. When we have realised that all this universe of vibration is full of the Spirit. But is matter all?” Our first verse is the answer of the Upanishad to this question. It signifies “that ^ which is in perpetual motion”. then this is the last & there is no beyond. “Does anything lie beyond? If matter is all. and implies in its neuter form the world. the Lord who is behind every manifestation of matter. we have set our feet on the right road that will lead us to the goal of existence. So far then Hinduism has reached by analysis to the last & simplest material expression of this complex universe. matter being merely the body. even the simplest & therefore is he the Lord. and in its feminine form the earth. But why does the Upanishad say “must be pervaded”. he is the Self of all things. and the Hindu idea of the cosmos reduces itself to a harmony of eternal vibrations. The question then arises. World therefore is that which eternally vibrates. form as we see it is simply the varying combination of different vibrations as they affect us through our perceptions & establish themselves to the concept.

the illimitable & infinite Self behind phenomena. The Visishta Adwaita or modified-Monistic Vedanta on the other hand recognises that the infinite Self & the finite Self are eventually One. & this limitation is not temporary but eternal. a difference. that the finite selves & the Infinite are for ever different & the whole riddle of the world lies in their difference & in their attraction to each other.96 Isha Upanishad: Part Two reality not two but one. on the contrary. an idea of change or modification which the next moment we perceive not to exist. The wave is not really different from the sea but is sea (not the sea) and the next moment will be indistinguishable from sea. & yet each of the vibrations is in a sense separate & continues its own existence on its own line for ever through infinity. it is all light. in other words by the theory that the Indivisible Eternal has deliberately imagined himself as divisible (I speak in metaphors. that would be an illusion similar to that of the finite self when it imagines itself as different from other finite selves and from the Infinite. It is difficult to find a close image here. The Adwaita or Monistic Vedanta affirms the entire unity of these two & explains their apparent separation by Maya. a certain limitation of the Oneness. and not a real object. We may take the metaphor of a sea & its waves. and the finite self which perceives phenomena. if each wave were to imagine itself separate from all other waves & from the sea of which it is a part. the goal of its existence is the delight of feeling its oneness with the Eternal. the only real object is the sea. there is no real difference. the only way of approaching such subtle inquiries) & hence created an illusion of multiplicity where the only real fact is Unity. but for want of a better we may take that of a river & the sea to . in fact the word “wave” merely expresses a momentary perception. it is Union & not fusion. Lastly the Dwaita or Dualistic Vedanta affirms. Illusion or Ignorance. The finite Self is of & in the infinite Self & therefore one with it but it does not coincide with it or disappear into it. To become one with the Eternal is here also the goal of the finite but the oneness is emotional & not essential. but still the very feeling of delight implies a limitation. An image may be taken from the phenomenon of Light & its vibrations. but still there is a distinction.

It is water hasting to water & the whole aim of the river is to fling itself into the sea & towards that it strives with all its might & with all its soul. if the knowledge-impulse predominates over the emotional. then to realise that that difference . is to rest for a time in modified Monism. Now these three philosophies really image three different states of soul & three different roads to the realisation of God. There is the intellectual state of soul which reaches God through knowledge. for the only desire of love is to attain the loved one & go on loving for ever. an impossibility unless the feeling of difference in Union goes on for ever. Lastly there is the emotional state of soul which reaches God through divine love. its tendency therefore. but if the emotional impulse predominates over the intellectual. though it recognises pure Monism as a far goal beyond. & finally it reaches the sea & mixes with it. The three philosophies are therefore simply three different standpoints from which we envisage one single truth. we debar ourselves too long from our final emancipation. And I may add my own conviction that all three are necessary soul-stages. By pausing too long in Dualism or even in modified Monism. The right progress of the soul is first to realise its difference from God. this naturally attaches itself to Dualism. So the two live in a perpetual embrace. but its actional state requires a certain sense of difference from God without which action becomes meaningless. that nothing eventually matters in the world except God & the goal of existence is to attain Him. this aims at the knowledge of its identity with God. so that we may feel attracted towards Him.Isha Upanishad: All that is world 97 which it is hasting. for it seeks only the knowledge of its identity with God & its tendency is to discourage all action & emotion which interfere with this aim. its tendency is to adopt modified Monism as a final solution. a river & not the sea. ever united & yet ever different & feeling their separate existence. but by leaping too quickly to Monism we fall into a dangerous tendency towards the premature dissolution of phenomena which if largely followed upsets the fine balance of the world. Then there is the actional state of soul which reaches God through action leading to knowledge & inspired by emotion. this naturally attaches itself to Monism. And yet there it is still.

but these are the things through which human thought proceeds & they must be given their due place. There are two nonphenomenal existences. it then realises that there is no self or non-self but all is God. so that we may advance towards Him by the right road & under the laws of that phenomenal existence through which he reveals himself to us. for dualist. — which is really Infinite but considers itself to be Finite. Eternal Self. which is the standpoint of the Upanishads? They do not. for the moment before He was not there for me & now He is. but as it grows in thought it looks into object after object & perceives itself there & so it goes on putting itself into everything until it has pervaded all that is in the world with itself. the universe is already pervaded with God. Here it is speaking in a spirit of very slightly modified Monism. then for its purposes the Universe is Matter & not pervaded by the Lord. such it is & no more so far as I am concerned. We see that it is merely a difference of language. But whatever the standpoint we take. the Infinite Self & the Finite Self. now from another. In more Monistic language the Self at first imagines itself to be confined within its own body. that there is unity beyond. monist or semimonist the Vedanta lays this down as the great essential step to realise that when we have resolved this universe of forms . in fact. here are three standpoints. To this Finite Self the Universe is only the mass of its own perceptions. of outlook. so that escaping from name & form we may lose ourselves in Him and attain our soul’s salvation. confine themselves to any. but we must also consider the point of view of the Finite Self. now from a third. if I consider yonder tree as so much wood & pith & sap & leaves. If it perceives the Universe as mere matter. from the point of view of the Infinite. speak now from one. but regarding them as three necessary stages. of perception. is the law & goal of all Hindu thought. if I look within & perceive God there then it is I who have put him there. Well then. and finally to perceive that we and God are One & all phenomena temporary & illusory.98 Isha Upanishad: Part Two is a temporary or at least not an entire difference. To recognize the differences they involve & yet to perceive the unity into which they merge.

Isha Upanishad: All that is world 99 & names into a great harmony of vibrations.] . And when we have realised this. what is the practical result. we must still go beyond & perceive that the whole is but the material expression of one pervading Spirit. for it must be remembered that the Vedanta is always profoundly practical[.


for a rock may perish but this endures for ever. of these various aspects of the one and only Truth. Therefore is the religion of the Aryas called the Sanatana Dharma. nothing the Vedanta says can have any value. — and more than a rock. the Puranas. Shaivas. with this truth in your hand as a lamp to shed light on all the obscurest sayings of the Scriptures. as well as the whole of Buddhism and its Scriptures are merely so many explanations. even all that is world in this moving universe. expressing in its various aspects the single and universal Truth. comments and interpretations from different sides. Nor are the Hindus in error when they declare the Sruti to be eternal and without beginning and the Rishis who . This Truth is the sole foundation on which all religions can rest as on a sure and impregnable rock. deprived of this central and highest truth. the Dharmashastras. Sauras. the Upanishads become what Mleccha scholars & philosophers think them to be. abandon therefore desire and enjoy and covet no man’s possession. All the Smritis. you soon come to realise that the Upanishads are a grand harmonious and perfectly luminous whole.The Ishavasyopanishad with a commentary in English 1. THE GURU The Upanishad sets forth by pronouncing as the indispensable basis of its revelations the universal nature of God. With God all this must be invested. as all its propositions either proceed from it or at least presuppose it. for under the myriad contradictions of phenomena (prapancha) there is one Truth and one only. the Law Sempiternal. This universal nature of Brahman the Eternal is the beginning and end of the Vedanta and if it is not accepted. — a mass of incoherent though often sublime speculations. the writings of Shaktas. the Darshanas. Vaishnavas.

cause or limit. as one might cover the body with a garment. we best think of Him as the Ruler & Sovran of the Universe. and the flower which manifests itself once and for ever is the great saying SO AHAM — I AM HE which is the culmination of the Upanishads. but spiritual. Swaha! THE GURU The Upanishad therefore begins by saying that all this must be clothed or invested with the Lord. Of these the Rig. the Aranyakas are the soil in which it grows. the luminous shadow of the One put forth by the Shakti of the One. the Upanishads are the plant itself. that is. It may be said to be surrounded by it or . the Brahmanas are the forest in which the plant is found. Purusha and Prakriti. Brahman is spoken of as the Lord. Salutation to the SO AHAM. Salutation to my Self who am the Eternal. the Ocean of spiritual force and the Ocean of material form. By the Lord we mean obviously not the Unknowable Parabrahman. Of these two. THE STUDENT I salute the Eternal and my Self who am the Eternal. the latter is contained in the other & could not be without it. and destructive Shakti or Will of the Eternal Parabrahman. stalk. which is the substratum of all form or matter. which by dividing itself into the Male and Female. Sama & Atharvan are the fertilising rain which gave the plant of the Truth nourishment and made it grow. time. He is the still ocean of spiritual force.102 Isha Upanishad: Part Two composed the hymns to be only the witnesses who saw the truth and put it in human language. its mere presence sets working the creative. Salutation to the Eternal who is without place. calix and petals. By her means he forms the Ocean of Prakriti. for this seeing was not mental sight. By this expression it is meant that the individual Jivatman or human soul in order to attain salvation must cover up all this universe with the Lord. has created this world of innumerable forms and names. but the Brahman knowable by Yoga. for of the Unknowable we cannot speak in terms of place. roots. leaves. Yajur. time or difference. preservative. Therefore the Vedas are justly called Sruti or revelation.

souls & not One. just as the Sankhyas & others imagine that there must be an infinite number of Purushas. .The Ishavasyopanishad 103 clothed by it. The Lord himself is present on the Ocean in various forms. they say. This is the Lord. for otherwise. & yet always divisible at will. THE STUDENT Surely all things [are] Brahman himself. Persons ignorant of the Truth imagine from this circumstance that a man’s consciousness must be not single and homogeneous but a bundle of different personalities. THE GURU On the contrary this is precisely the nature of consciousness to be eternally one & indivisible. so that when he is in one state. or Vishnu. We must therefore realise all things in this universe to be the creation of that ocean of Brahman or spiritual force which surrounds them as a robe surrounds its wearer. or if it is divided how can it at the same time remain one and surround its own parts? A thing cannot be at the same time one and indivisible and yet divisible and multifold. he does not know what he has been thinking and doing in the other. Prajna. why then should he be said to surround all things as if he were different from them? THE GURU It is meant by this expression that the universal & undivided consciousness which we call Brahman. How can the one indivisible consciousness be divided. the King & Ruler. A man’s consciousness has often been split up into two states. Brahma and Maheshwara. THE STUDENT Still I do not understand. Hiranyagarbha & Virat. surrounds and includes all the limited individual consciousnesses which present themselves to us in the shape of things. each with its own history and memory. This is what the Puranas represent as Vishnu on the Serpent of Time & Space in the Causal Ocean & Brahma growing out of the lotus in his navel etc.

submerged indeed but constant and subliminally active. & when the apparently individual Purusha puts himself into the complete state of Yoga with the Eternal he discovers that all the time there was only One Purusha who was cognizant of & contained the others. for then a third state of personality will often evolve which has known all along what the other two were doing and saying & is in itself sufficient proof that all along the unity of consciousness was there.) But this is merely Avidya. in the sense that they were simply projections (sE s) from him. The Dream Consciousness may be said to surround the waking consciousness and its body as a robe surrounds its wearer. These states of split consciousness are only different states of one personality and not separate personalities. it is the selecting agency from which & by which a part is selected for waking purposes in the material life.104 Isha Upanishad: Part Two all would have the same knowledge. Ignorance. yet remaining one and indivisible all the time. the same universal Nescience which in its general & normal action makes men imagine that they are a different self from the Universal Consciousness and not merely states or conditions projected (s ) of that consciousness. for it is wider & less trammelled in its nature & range. This single consciousness itself. (This is so in a sense. but is more permanently & coherently liberated from the gross body at or after death. the I of the waking man. The Dream Consciousness . This wider consciousness is called the Dream Condition and the body or upadhi in which it works is called the Subtle Body. and an unwise hypnosis may throw him back into a bygone state of personality. the same pleasure & pain etc. as his present personality contains also in a submerged state the personalities of his previous births. We see here then an established example of the one and indivisible consciousness becoming divided and multifold. This will at once be clear if a skilful and careful hypnotiser put the man in the right state of sleep. The division of this one consciousness into two separate states results from a particular & unusual action of Avidya. is only a division or rather a state of a still wider consciousness more independent of gross matter which gets some play in the condition of dream (and of dream hypnosis is only a particular and capricious form).

the robe is different from its wearer. Prithivi. even the . she that moveth? Because it is a form of Prakriti whose essential characteristic is motion. is an old name for Earth. THE GURU Let us consider a nut with the kernel in it. she who moves. THE STUDENT Now I understand. full of infinite motion. surrounds ether in the upadhi of the kernel as a robe surrounds its wearer. there is one ether.The Ishavasyopanishad 105 is itself [surrounded] by a still wider consciousness which we call the Sleep Condition or the Causal Body and from this & by this it is selected for life before birth & after death. or literally whatever is moving thing in her that moves. is the type. Thus you will realise that Brahman is a wide eternally one & indivisible Consciousness which yet limits itself at will and yet remains illimitable surrounding like a robe all its various states or illusory limitations. every material object is jagat. This Sleep Condition is again surrounded by Brahman from whom & by whom it is selected for causal purposes. and afterwards for the whole wide universe. and indeed all object-matter is only a form. but the two are the same. of which the Earth with which alone we human beings are at present concerned. — just as a robe surrounds its wearer. not two. — even the stone. we see that ether in the form or upadhi of the nut. Now jagati. audible or sensible result of motion. Why then is the universe called jagati. THE GURU Consider next what the Upanishad goes on to indicate more definitely as the thing to be clothed or invested — whatever is jagat in jagati. for by motion she creates this material world. that is to say a visible. THE STUDENT True but that which surrounds is always a separate thing from that which is surrounded.

beautiful. our senses tell us. is the only existing reality. no Harischandra. there would be no ground for the Christian injunction to love others as oneself or for the description by the Sruti & Smriti of the perfect sage as svBtEhtrt. tender.106 Isha Upanishad: Part Two clod. We are to enjoy the whole world. THE GURU It will yet say that. the Purusha within me who is the witness & enjoyer of all this sweet. drawing him in our imaginations like a robe round each sensible thing. How is this possible? If I. for then Harischandra would be in no way connected with me and there would be no point of contact . Devadatta. then it is I who am enjoying them. Now if as the Sankhyas and other philosophies and the Christians and other religions declare. but my true self. and that there is no Devadatta. how can I fail to envy him his wealth and why should I not try to get it for my own enjoyment. pleasant. grand. am told to enjoy all that is in the world.. If therefore Harischandra enjoys his riches. busied with and delighting in the good of all creatures. It tells us next by abandonment of this (all that is in the world) to enjoy and not covet any man’s wealth. — not my body in which I am imprisoned or my desires by which my body is made miserable. but only Brahman in various states of consciousness to which these names are given. because I cannot. This material world. if I safely can? I shall not try. but find that I have very little to enjoy while my neighbour Harischandra has untold riches. because I have realized that there is nothing in this world but Brahman manifesting the universe by his Shakti. but the Upanishad warns us against the false evidence of our senses and bids us realise in our hearts and minds Brahman the Ocean of spiritual force. horrible and wholly wonderful and enjoyable drama of the world which Prakriti enacts for his delectation. but not to covet the possessions of others. bitter. there are innumerable Purushas and not one. for Harischandra is myself. THE STUDENT But the Upanishad does not say that the material world is itself Brahman. terrible.

for by its means two separated conditions of the Universal Consciousness come together and become one. for in this way he . God who is in all to my single body and mind. to myself in Devadatta alone. right and in the end inevitable. since in this way I shall make my knowledge of Brahman a reality and not a mere intellectual conception or assent. however slow. but my true self to my false. For this reason perfect love. the universal spirit. right? THE GURU It is inevitable because as I have risen from the beast to the man. It is natural because I am not really preferring another to myself. Still nobler and more ennobling is the love of the patriot who lives & dies for his country. — and this progress. I shall turn it into an experience — anubhav. THE STUDENT That is a large view. evolution meaning simply the wider and wider revelation of Brahman. is the essence of true Jnana. THE STUDENT How is the preference of others to myself inevitable. natural. is inevitable. the Smritis tell us. myself in Devadatta and Harischandra.The Ishavasyopanishad 107 between us except the material. How then could I prefer him to myself? But from the point of view of Vedanta. is a great and ennobling thing. such preference is natural. and anubhav. so must I rise from the man to the God & of Godhead this preference is the perennial well & fountain. the progress from the falsehood of matter to the truth of spirit. THE GURU And a true view. from which hatred & envy are far more ready to arise than love and sympathy. It is right because it is better for me to enjoy the enjoyment of Harischandra than to enjoy my own. by which I do not mean the mere sensual impulse of man towards woman.

you will feel the joys. Remember that [it] is not the weak in spirit to whom the Eternal gives himself wholly. not of one man. Therefore the Upanishad tells us that we must enjoy by abandonment. But. By renunciation you can increase your enjoyments a hundredfold. if you are a true patriot. who gives himself up utterly for his family and friends. Others can only touch His shadow from . you say. yes & when he can. the united joys of a hundred must needs be greater. that he must abandon & what he has abandoned enjoy by the very sacrifice. for his country. but of three hundred millions. Yet the seer of the Upanishad is wiser than we. by tyaga or renunciation. for the world. for all humanity.108 Isha Upanishad: Part Two becomes one with millions of divine units and still greater. The natural man shrinks from the statement as a dangerous paradox. to bathe up to the eyes in the joys of others. and the joys of one man may be as great as you please. derive equal strength from defeat & victory.. more exalting the soul of the philanthropist. even defeat in such a cause is a stern pleasure when it strengthens the soul for new and ceaseless endeavour. tn (y n B FTA. but becomes He through God-devoted Karma. And the souls worthy of the sacrifice. it is a curious thing to tell a man . who not only reaches Brahman by the way of Jnana. This is a curious expression. the solar system & systems upon systems. the unparalleled joy of relieving and turning into bliss the woes of the nation for which you sacrifice yourself or of the humanity in whom you are trying to realise God. It means that we give up our own petty personal joy and pleasure. the greatest Yogi. — for the whole universe. Think what it means. Even the mere continuous patient resolute effort to do this is a joy unspeakable. that you can turn into joy. not only soars to Him on the wings of Bhakti. if you are a true philanthropist. nobler. who without forgetting family or country lives and dies for mankind or for all creatures. their sorrows will flow there too? That too is an agony of sweetness which exalts the soul to Paradise. all the joys of the countless millions of the earth will flow through your soul like an ocean of nectar. it is the strong heroic soul that reaches God. for his statement is literally true. He is the wisest Muni.

Such a man will quickly rise above joy & sorrow. fate cannot break it. That enjoyment is clear. so you may. like God and finally God . for in sorrow as in joy he will feel himself to be near God. trouble & passion. the fear of its utter loss. As a king merely touching the nuzzerana. they come crowding to lay themselves at his feet. you may take & enjoy them. Wealth and fame and success naturally flee from the man who pursues them. Nay. In this way the man who renounces the little he can call his own for the good of others. for humanity. You are not asked necessarily to give up the objects of your enjoyments physically. robbers cannot take it away. enemies cannot overwhelm it. but you may enjoy God in them and them for God. or if he gains them. pour it out for those around you. If you cannot rise so high. Glory again he may conceal with humility. but use the influence it gives him in order to lead men upwards to the divine. for you have already abandoned that kind of enjoyment in your heart. then. so long as you take care that you are not cherishing the thought of the enjoyment in your mind. certainly not for your false self. for the country. the sorrow of diminution. a very mountain of toil. passes it on into the public treasury. it is enough if you give them up in your heart. victory & defeat.The Ishavasyopanishad 109 afar. the passion for its increase. that too is well. still the words of the Upanishad are true in other ways. with God. sorrow. it will often be a quicker road to enjoyment. seeing Brahman in these. if you enjoy them in such spirit that you will neither be overjoyed by gain nor cast down by loss. It is far better by abandoning to enjoy. merely touching the wealth that comes to you. But when a man turns his back on wealth & glory. gets in return and can utterly enjoy all that is world in this moving universe. the trouble of keeping it. he breaks his heart or perishes without gaining them. And if they come. Otherwise your enjoyment is chequered and broken with fear. How will you enjoy them then? Not for your personal pleasure. If you wish to abandon physically. unless his past actions forbid. will he enjoy or reject them? He may reject them — that is a great path & the way of innumerable saintly sages — but you need not reject them. deep and calm. it is often after a very hell of difficulty.

The Sruti therefore tells us that we must not turn our backs on life. not to find Him. there is no need to flee to the mountains in order to find the Self. since He is here. . I repeat to you that it is not the weak and the coward who can climb up to God.. Mark the emphasis laid on the word kvn by adding to it eva. THE STUDENT All this is opposed to what the wisest men have taught and those we most delight to revere. disgust with the world is the best way and its entry into a man’s soul is his first call to the way of mukti.110 Isha Upanishad: Part Two himself. ^ Verily we must do our deeds in the world and not avoid doing them. still teach and practise. Every individual Jivatman must become the perfect Kshatriya before he can be the Brahmin. must not fling it from us untimely or even long for early release from our body but willingly fill out our term. Therefore the Upanishads go on to say kv vh kmAEZ EjjFEvqQCt smA. And if you flee there. and it is because these are confused and jumbled together by the . \ . in you and in all around you. which is not by action but by knowledge. but the strong and brave alone. A hundred years is the full span of man’s natural life according to the Vedas. even be most ready to prolong it to the full period of man’s ordinary existence so that we may go on doing our deeds in this world. THE GURU Are you sure that it is? What do they teach? THE STUDENT That vairagya. THE GURU Vairagya is a big word and it has come to mean many things. Do thy deeds in this world and wish to live thy hundred years. then you lose the Self for this life and perhaps many to come. but to escape from the misery & misfortune of the world which you are too weak to face.

the Eternal. \ . such was Shankaracharya. {Ny { ^ . pAT ntt (v ypp t. of the strong man who having tasted the sweets of this world finds that there is no permanent and abiding sweetness in them. holier and imperishable. ^ anAyj m-v`ymkFEtkrmjn . Truly is such weakness unworthy of one who is no other than Brahma. There is one vairagya. If such a man came to me for initiation. but to realise their divine strength and use it for divine purposes. then their eyes are opened and they seek meditation.The Ishavasyopanishad 111 men of Aryavarta. Once attained they pour it in a stream over the world. because in the solitude alone with God and the Guru. the truest and noblest. and sometimes it is the sorrow of others or the misery of the world that finds them in ease & felicity & drives them out. they can best develop Brahmatejah. Then there is the vairagya of the weakling who has lusted and panted and thirsted for the world’s sweets but has been pushed & hustled from the board by fate or by stronger men than himself. and would use Yoga and Vedanta as the drunkard uses his bottle and the opium-maniac his pill or his laudanum. as Buddha was driven out. sometimes great spirits seek the way of the Sannyasin. that they are not the true and immortal joy which his true and immortal self demands and turns to something in himself which is deeper. . I would send him back with the fiery rebuke of Srikrishna to the son of Pritha kt-(vA k mlEmd Evqm smpE-Ttm. not from weakness but because these things were beneath their true greatness and high destiny. solitude and samadhi not as a dram to drown their sorrow and still unsated longing. covering it with a thick pall of darkness. . weakness & selfishness have spread over this holy & ancient land. Yet I would not be understood to decry the true vairagya of sorrow and disappointment. Not for such ignoble uses were these great things meant by the Rishis who disclosed them to the world. the Creator and Destroyer of the worlds. for sometimes when men have tried in ignorance for ignoble things and failed. ?l \ mA -m gm. to seek help for sufferers in the depths . that tamas and Anaryan cowardice.

but he also says that Jnana is superior to all things and there is nothing equal to it. the most mighty in God to do the works of God. You will then do your works tn (y n. strengthened and maintained by the godlike nature of your works. you have realised that all is the one Brahman and that your actions are but the dramatic illusions unrolled by Prakriti for the delight of the Purusha. The works of which the Upanishad speaks are to be done after you have invested all this universe with God. the world may rather be helped. THE STUDENT This is true. works without Jnana will not save a man but only plunge him deeper and deeper into bondage. after. THE GURU It is not opposed to the teaching of Srikrishna who is the greatest of all teachers and the best of Jagatgurus. that is to say. that of salvation by works is the true creed and he condemns the other as the idle talk of a weakling. This is what the Upanishad goes on to say . Jnana is first & greatest. Sri Shankara and the rest. THE GURU Nor is there. for Jnana is indispensable. THE STUDENT I repeat that all this is opposed to the teaching of the great Adwaitavadin Acharyas. For he tells Sanjay in the Mahabharata that between the creed of salvation by works and the creed of salvation by no works.112 Isha Upanishad: Part Two of their own being. True Sannyasins are the greatest of all men because they are the strongest unto work. — not to your lower not-self which feels pleasure & pain but to the Brahman in you which works \g only loks }hAT that instead of the uninstructed multitudes being bewildered and led astray by your inactivity. and again and again in the Bhagavadgita he lays stress on the superiority of works. or as Srikrishna tells you to do. after giving up the desire for the fruits of your works and devoting all your actions to Him.

for I think no one of authority will now try to maintain the opposite thesis. was not the heresies of later Buddhism — Buddhism decayed and senescent. Let us however consider what the depreciation of the Karmamarga means in the mouths of Shankara and other Jnanamargis. actions performed after renunciation and devoted to God. love & hate. heat & cold which arises from Avidya and he. We all agree that Swarga. Causality springs from the idea of duality. but the triumphant doctrines of the Karmakanda which made the faithful performance of Vedic rites & ceremonies the one path and heaven the only goal.The Ishavasyopanishad 113 “Thus to you there is no other way than this. It is not in reality he that is doing the actions. then Shankara has done his work effectually. They cannot bind him. do not bind him in their invisible chains but fall from him as the water from the wings of the swan. — could not be the one path to heaven. THE STUDENT Why then does Shankara say that it is necessary to give up works in order to attain absolute unity? Those who do works. action clingeth not to a man. having renounced desire and realised Unity. because he is freed from the woven net of causality. in his opinion. is above Avidya and above duality. — these & these only — do not cling to a man. relative and not absolute unity. In his continual anxiety to show that works — of which these rites & ceremonies were a part. It may mean that Karma in the sense of Vedic rites & ceremonies are not the way to Mukti and if this is the meaning.” This means that desireless actions. Bondage has no meaning for him. the idea of sorrow & happiness. but Prakriti inspired by the presence of the Purusha in him. for the great living force with which he had to struggle. he bent the bow as far as he could the other way and argued that works were not the path to the last and greatest mukti at all. only reach sAlo with Brahman. THE GURU There was a reason for what Shankara said and it was necessary in his age that Jnana should be exalted at the expense of works. .

undeveloped minds. But if you say that works in the sense of kt&y km are not a path to Mukti. it is indeed to this difficulty of language. is not Mukti. to which all the confusion and sense of difference in religion & philosophy is due. Therefore Srikrishna says that Sankhya (Jnanayog) and Yoga (Bhakti Karma Yoga) are not two but one and only bAlA. lead to nothing but the fulfilment of desire followed by fresh works in another life. make a difference. its natural imperfection and the imperfection of the minds that employ language. We all agree that works prompted by desire. for religion & philosophy are one & above difference. If he had given his sanction to Karma. prevents mukti by fresh bondage and must be abandoned? This is not consistent . We all agree also that the only spiritual usefulness of Vedic ceremonies is to purify the mind and fit it for starting on the true path of Mukti which lies through Jnana. however qualified. for I say that Karma is not different from Jnana. the general run of people would not have understood him and would have clung to their rites and ceremonies. is the necessary fulfilment and completion of Jnana. Karma and Jnana are not three but one and go inseparably together. because it necessarily leads to bondage and must therefore be abandoned? On this head there is no dispute. Is it that Karma without desire is inconsistent with Mukti. is much below Mukti and ends as soon as its cause is exhausted. For what do you mean when you say that Karma is no path to Mukti? Is it that Karma prompted by desire is inconsistent with mukti. that Bhakti.114 Isha Upanishad: Part Two the sole final result of the Karmakanda. but is Jnana. but he was dealing with undeveloped minds and had to speak their language. then I demur. THE STUDENT But how can Shankaracharya be called an undeveloped mind? THE GURU He was not an undeveloped mind. Nor was Shankara so entirely opposed to Karma as is ordinarily imagined from the vehemence of his argument in some places..

for they were jFv m . I answer that there can be no greater Mukti than becoming the Sacchidananda. therefore in nishkam karma there can be no bondage. It is incon\ sistent with facts for Srikrishna did works. If it be said that this is not Mukti. } karma may be done as a step towards b AE by Jnan but must be abandoned as soon as Jnan is acquired? This also will not stand because Janaka and the others did works after they had acquired Jnan as well as before. and that laya in the Parabrahman is -vQCADFn to the Jivatman when it has ceased to be Jivatman and become Sacchidananda. and if it be said that Parabrahman the Turiya Atma in whom all bhed disappears is aktA. not wise enough to . I still answer that in that case we must suppose that Srikrishna after he left his body. for indeed Brahman is both aktA as Purusha and ktA as Prakriti. It is inconsistent with Sruti E/ZAEcktE-/EBr(y sE D E/kmk rEt j mm(y i(yAEd. for bondage is the result of desire & ignorance and disappears with desire & ignorance. since the two are in no sense two but one. in no sense subject to Avidya but on the other side of Avidya. that is to say by the Muktatma after leaving ^ its body. I answer that he is neither ktA nor aktA. the Unknowable and the Jivatma does not merge finally in Him while it is in the body. ly takes place aAdhEnpAtAt. For the same reason Shankara’s argument that km must cease as a matter of sheer necessity as soon as one gains Brahma. because Brahma is aktA. Then if it be said that En kAm km can only lead to Brahmaloka and not mukti. He is nEt nEt. the Jivanmukta is made one with the luminous shadow of Parabrahman which we call the Sacchidananda. and yet both did works. Srikrishna was Brahma. Is it meant that nishkam . though it may do so at any time by Yoga. remained separate from the Supreme and therefore was not Bhagavan at all but only a great philosopher & devotee.The Ishavasyopanishad 115 with reason. nay. for Parabrahman can always & at will draw Sacchidananda into Itself and Sacchidananda can always and at will draw into Parabrahman. Janaka and others did works. but none will say that they fell into the bondage of their works. Srikrishna in one place speaks of him as doing works. not willing to return to another. will not stand. for Janaka gained Brahma.

but go on . to walk. and he would have admitted it still more unreservedly if he had not been embarrassed by his relations of intellectual hostility to the Purvamimansa. it is quite clear. however. One argument. dependent on a mere mechanical & material change like death. to eat. which is absurd. This however would contradict Scripture and the uniform teaching of Sruti and Smriti. ^ kAyt vf. still less by any Vedantin. and all this is Karma. ] {g { And this statement in the Gita is perfectly consistent with reason. both the teaching and practice of the greatest Jivanmuktas and of Bhagavan himself have combined Jnana and En kAm km as one single path to mukti. it is not necessary to continue being a householder in order to gain mukti. . since it would make mukti which is a spiritual change. Z. Shankara himself therefore admits that in these cases En kAm km was not inconsistent with mE or with . even if he is mukta. I readily admit that particular works are not necessary to mukti. for the man who leaves the world behind him and sits on a mountaintop or in an asram has not therefore. kEtj . and cannot therefore be upheld by any Hindu. can be free of karma. but in the last stage it is not necessary to mukti. to move his limbs or to sit in asan and meditate. being the Brahman. km sv. Moreover it would contradict reason. This is clearly and incontrovertibly stated by Srikrishna in the Bhagavadgita. and the doctrine of the Charvakas has as much force as any. his body & mind are not free from Karma until his body is dropped off. [n Eh kE ("ZmEp jAt Et (ykmkt. this karma will moreover bind him and bear its fruits in relation to himself as well as to others. if nothing else. But no one who possesses a body. It is proved therefore that km is not inconsistent with mE but that on the contrary . it may be said that km may be not inconsistent with mukti.116 Isha Upanishad: Part Two attain Mukti. for if there is no authority in Sruti. and that Janak and other Jivanmuktas were falsely called muktas or only in the sense of the aApE"k mukti. got rid of Karma. remains. If he is not yet mukta. may be one path to mukti. then there is no truth in Vedanta. he has to maintain his body.

is pouring out a stream of spiritual force on all sides. but what of the past deeds which have already created bondage? The Jivanmukta is not indeed bound. THE STUDENT But how can this be that the jivanmukta is still bound by his past deeds? Does not mukti burn up one’s past deeds as in a fire? For how can one be at the same time free and yet bound? THE GURU Mukti prevents one’s future deeds from creating bondage. let every man who wishes to throw his kt&y km behind him. the Jivanmukta remains working like a prisoner on parole. see that he is not merely postponing the completion of his ArND to a future life and thereby condemning himself to the rebirth he wishes to avoid. though he wills it not. Srikrishna . not bound indeed by others. otherwise the chain of causation is snapped and the whole economy of nature is disturbed and thrown into chaos. but the Prakriti attached to this Jivatman has created causes while in the illusion of bondage and must be allowed to work out its effects. and must let the gunas of prakriti work. etc. has a stupendous influence on others. THE GURU It is no new light but as old as the sun. . Since this is so. In order to maintain the worlds therefore. THE STUDENT This is indeed a new light on the subject. not its slave. for he is one with God and God is the Master of His prakriti. u(sFdyErm lokA. he too with regard to his body is avf. and this action though it does not bind him.The Ishavasyopanishad 117 under the impulse of prarabdha until the prarabdha & its fruit are complete. for it is clearly laid down in the Gita and of the teaching of the Gita. He is svBtEht rt. but detained by himself until the period previously appointed for his captivity shall have elapsed. Nay even the greatest Yogi by his mere bodily presence in the phenomenal world.

118 Isha Upanishad: Part Two says that it was told by him to Vivasvan. he will be reborn with full knowledge of what he really is. his descendants. from that moment you are free and always have been free. the Jivatman can have no farther fear of karma. unless he himself deliberately wills it. THE STUDENT But if this statement once free. not merely . Yet what is mukti? It is release. of his past lives and of the whole future and will act as a Jivanmukta. once free. — from what? From Avidya. something which binds him. always free. he himself being other than Brahman. it plainly arises from the nature of things. intellectually grasped the idea. nay. since he knows he cannot again fall under the dominion of Avidya. that there is nothing but Brahman and never was nor will be anything but Brahman. . from the belief that you are limited & bound. for he knows that there is no such thing as bondage. Nay. He will be quite ready to do his deeds in this world. always free hold. for why do men fly from action and shun their kt&y km in the pursuit of mukti? It is because they dread to be cast again into bondage. being Brahman. the Vishnu of the solar system and by him to Manou. but in reality He. never was bound nor could be bound and never will be bound. and by Manou handed down to the great king-sages. The whole confusion in this matter proceeds from an imperfect understanding of mukti. from the great Nescience. who are illimitable Brahman and cannot be bound. Avidya consists precisely in this that the Jivatman thinks there is something beside himself. Even if he is reborn. as Srikrishna himself has promised to be reborn again and again. I say. had anBv of it. The moment you have realised that Avidya is an illusion. is not bound. he will even be ready to be reborn. what of the statements about great Rishis & Yogis falling again under the dominion of Avidya? . for of rebirth also he has no farther fear. realised it. Once this is realised. to lose their chance of mE . the original Thinker in man.

forgetting that he is really not Dushyanta or Rama. slaves & bound by her actions which we imagine to . Creator & Destroyer. you have imagined yourself limited by a particular body for the purposes of the play. You should desire to live your allotted term of life. as the Sruti says? Can one who is m have a desire? .The Ishavasyopanishad 119 THE GURU A man may be a great Rishi or Yogi without being Jivanmukta. and you also are Isha. Creator & Destroyer. the Lord. but this recommendation is given not to the Jivanmukta or to any particular class of person but generally. that so long as we forget our Self. and are. but that Devadatta who plays a hundred parts besides. in this view Brahman is Isha. break up the play but goes on playing his best till the proper time for the curtain to fall. he does not therefore walk off from the stage and by refusing to act. whether as householder or Sannyasi. just as an actor imagines himself to be Dushyanta or Rama or Ravana. as Jivanmukta or as mumukshu. because you in the body are the Brahman who by the force of His own Shakti is playing for Himself by Himself this lila of creation. only for your own amusement. And so we should all do. Still when he shakes off this illusion & remembers that he is Devadatta. as it were. and often the actor loses himself in the part and really feels himself to be what he is playing. we create like servants under the compulsion of our Prakriti or Nature. not Mukti itself. preservation and destruction. Yog and spiritual learning are means to Mukti. THE STUDENT Will then the Jivanmukta actually wish to live a hundred years. tn. For the Sruti says nAymA(mA vcnn l<yo n mDyA n bhnA . to use a violent metaphor. THE GURU The Jivanmukta will be perfectly ready to live a hundred years or more if needs be. The only difference is this. . remembering always that the object of this sansara is creation and that it is our business so long as we are in this body to create.

but only the desire for their fruit. for indeed Ravana lives as much after the supposed death as before. since the idea might easily have been expressed in any other natural way. \ Shankara takes this verse in a very peculiar way. our soul becomes the Sakshi. Now this is a very startling and violent metaphor and quite uncalled for. of the actions of our Nature. and yet because we know the whole to be merely the illusion of an action and not action itself. he will be no Jivanmukta but a mere suicide and attain the very opposite result of what he desires. for the Self is eternal and unslayable. thus are we both spectator & actor.120 Isha Upanishad: Part Two be ours.. called aAsrA because Rajas predominates in . tA-t (yAEBgQCE t y k cA(mhno jnA. he says that it is a metaphor for casting the Self under the delusion of ignorance which leads to birth. and since this is obviously an absurdity. We must see whether the rest of the verse is in harmony with the interpretation. animal etc. The mumukshu therefore will not try or wish to leave his life before the time. for he takes lokA as meaning various kinds of birth. but when we know the Self and experience our true Self. . Still the Sruti is full of metaphor and we shall therefore not be justified in rejecting Shankara’s interpretation on that ground only. man. The Upanishad says asyA nAm t lokA a Dn tmsAvtA. then we are masters of our Prakriti and not bound by her creations. in preference to any other ^ for those conceptions with which the Brahman peoples with Himself the Universe of Himself. just as he will not try or wish to leave actions in this life. the silent spectator. because we know that Rama is not really killing Ravana nor Ravana being killed. He interprets aA(mhno as slayers of the Self. For if he breaks impatiently the thread of his life before it is spun out. so that asyA lokA means the various births as . . saw. Now we find that in order to support his view Shankara is obliged to strain astonishingly the plain meaning of other words in the sentence also. so are we neither actor nor spectator but the Self only and all we see only visions of the Self — as indeed the Sruti frequently uses the word e"d.

of which life in this world is one. Paratman is above birth & above Devahood. Moreover the expression y k loses its peculiar force if we apply it to all living beings except the few who obtain mukti partial or complete. kFVlok. Asurya can only mean Asuric as opposed to Devic. The ordinary sense of the words gives a perfectly clear and consistent meaning. Swarga. . We must therefore refuse to follow even Shankara. b lok. Golok. plunge by death into a worse prison of darkness — the Asuric worlds enveloped in blind gloom. and we must not take it in any other sense here just to suit our own argument. Brahmalok. of Asuric gloom as opposed to the divine loks.1 All this is a curious and unparalleled meaning for Asuric worlds. but this is a misuse of words because the Devas cannot be Asura births as opposed to the Daiva birth of Paratman. If we say aAsr lok we can mean nothing but the regions . THE STUDENT Are then worlds of Patala beneath the earth a reality and do the souls go down there after death? But we know now that there is no beneath to the earth. because those who kill themselves instead of finding freedom.The Ishavasyopanishad 121 them and they are accompanied with Asuric dispositions. beginning after “other words in the sentence also. The expression lokA is never applied to the various kinds of forms the Jivatman assumes. 1 Another version which duplicates some of the last part of this sentence reads as follows.” — for he says that asyA lokA means the various kinds of birth. but to the various surroundings of the different conditions through which it passes. considered Asuric births as opposed to the Paratman. even the Devas being . golok etc. when his interpretation involves so many violences to the language of Sruti and so wide a departure from the recognized meaning of words. This is the ordinary meaning when we speak of going to a world after death. but we do not say pflok. we say ihlok or m(ylok. The Sruti tells us that it is no use taking refuge in suicide or the shortening of your life. prlok or -vglok. } . which is round & encircled by nothing worse than air. it obviously means some out of many. pE"lok.

A world is not a place with hills & trees & stones. and regards itself as in a particular place. But these are all words & dreams. This world of darkness is imagined as being beneath the earth. pain or horror. Nevertheless while we are still dreamers. then the Jivatman in the Sukshmasharir is unable to . Brahmalok the condition of being near to Hiranyagarbha in the causal body. THE STUDENT What then are these worlds of nether gloom? THE GURU When a man dies in great pain. as being . for there may & must be other abodes of mortal beings but the condition of mortality in the gross body. the place of light & pleasure. because the side of earth turned to the Sun is considered the upper side. amE mn lok. the worlds of gloom in the nether depths of your own being. all the rest being only circumstances & details of a dream. since Hell & Patal & Earth & Paradise & Heaven are all in the Jivatma itself and not outside it. or in great grief or in great agitation of mind and his last thoughts are full of fear. rage. because the side of the earth turned away from the Sun is regarded as the nether side. ^ good or otherwise. beneath the condition of mortality. a place of misery unspeakable. but a condition of the Jivatman. The Asuric worlds are a reality. Obviously lok means state or condition. m(ylok is not essentially this Earth we see. while Swarga is above the Earth. we must speak in the language & terms of the dream. So the worlds of utter bliss begin from the Sun and rise above the Sun to Brahmalok. so when it is in a condition of complete tamas in the subtle body. Just as the Jivatman like a dreamer sees the Earth & all its features when it is in the condition of mortality. Swargalok is the condition of bliss in the subtle body. this is clear from the language of the Sruti when it speaks of the spirit’s lok in the next world.122 Isha Upanishad: Part Two THE GURU Do not be misled by words. Narak the condition of misery in the subtle body. it believes itself to be in a place surrounded by thick darkness.

Hence the importance. with the lower upadhi. The reason of this is the law of death. of living a clean and noble life and dying a calm & strong death. The Sruti says then that those who slay themselves go down into the nether world of gloom. . Let no man in his folly or impatience court such a doom. if the ideas & impressions are such as to associate the self with the higher understanding & the bliss of the Self. for they have associated the Self with body and fancied that by getting rid of this body. ie to say. which we call Patal or in its worst forms Hell. For there are three states of Maya. disgust and pain. as a host gathers provender for its journey. Swarga or Behesta. then before death we become God and after death we shall not be other. and until they have worn off these. In that state of gloom they are continually repeating the last scene of their life. tamasic illusion. but the one and only truth. but they have died full of impressions of grief. and whatever impressions are predominant at that moment. But if we have learned to identify for ever the self with the Self. govern its condition afterwards. they will be free. sometimes for centuries. impatience.The Ishavasyopanishad 123 shake off these impressions from his mind for years. its impressions and its violent disquiet. rajasic illusion. which we call Paradise. even apart from Mukti. For if the ideas & impressions then uppermost are such as associate the self with this gross body and the vital functions. death is a moment of great concentration when the departing spirit gathers up the impressions of its mortal life. the soul passes quickly to a sattwic condition of highest bliss which we call Heaven or Brahmaloka and thence it does not return. from which it will return to birth in this world. If the ideas & impressions uppermost are such as associate the self with the mind and the higher desires then the soul passes quickly through a short period of blindness to a rajaso-sattwic condition of light & pleasure and wider knowledge. & sattwic illusion. then the soul remains long in a tamasic condition of darkness & suffering. and each in succession we must shake off to reach that which is no illusion. there is no possibility of shanti for their minds.

As Prakriti. The eye. the lords of the senses. the ear. \ { . for Prakriti is His creative force making matter & its forms through motion. Therefore it now uses the neuter form of the pronoun. We try to follow Him pouring as light through the solar system and lo! while we are striving He is whirling universes into being far beyond the reach of eye or telescope. all activity is motion. It says anjdk mnso jvFyo nn vA aA=nvn pvmqt. because Brahman is above sex & distinction. All this apparently stable universe is really in a state of multifold motion. yet he is at once unmoving & swifter than mind. It now proceeds to show how this is and to indicate that the Lord is the Brahman. but One and indivisible. He is swifter than the mind. nothing material can reach or conceive the inconceivable creative activity of the Brahman. But of course that really means. cannot keep pace with the velocity of the cosmic stir. the mind. All creation is motion. and yet at the same time He is neither. But in the next verse the Upanishad goes on suddenly to something quite disconnected. for He rushes far in front. everything is whirling with inconceivable rapidity through motion. And all this motion. speaking of Him as That and This. cannot reach him. you must realise how all things are already invested with Him. ^ ^ t Avto_ yAn(yEt Et E-m po mAtEr A dDAEt The Sruti has said that you must invest all things with the Lord. Material senses quail before the thought . THE GURU No.124 Isha Upanishad: Part Two THE STUDENT I understand then that these three verses form a clear & connected exposition. regarded in his creative activity through Purusha & Prakriti. the One who. He is One. Purusha & Prakriti being merely conceptions in His mind deliberately raised for the sake of creating multiplicity. is called the Lord. He is both Purusha & Prakriti. and even thought which is the swiftest thing we know. far beyond the farthest flights of thought itself. all this ever evolving Cosmos & Universe is Brahman. The Gods in their swiftest movements.

So that the stir of the Cosmos is really the stir of our own minds — and yet even our own mind does not really stir. at our side. as actions. their Creator who has no part in their actions and yet without Him not one of them could exist. this sensitory impression of a space covered & a time spent we attribute not to our thought. Hamlet & the murderous Uncle. and this motion of our thoughts. all this motion is the result of our own Avidya which by persuading us to imagine ourselves as limited. He is at the same time in the Sun & here. THE STUDENT Now I see. the scenery. the actors and the acting. all Himself & yet not himself. He is all the time here. He is the poet Shakespeare watching Desdemona & Othello. but to Brahman. Really He does not move at all. but standing. What we call mind is simply the play of conception sporting with the idea of multiplicity which is in form the idea of motion. just as a man in a railway-train has a sensitory impression that everything is rushing past. he is the motionless & silent spectator of a drama of which He himself is the stage. Will not this bring it more into harmony with the rest of the verse? . with us. But what is this suddenly thrown in about Matariswun & the waters? Shankara interprets ap. who sits there a silent witness. yet its one plain. in us. before. but we in order to realise Him have to follow Him from the Sun to the Earth. Brahman in all his creative activity is really in one place. While we are toiling after Him. And yet all the time He who outstrips all others. This is the mystery of the world and its paradox. The Purusha is really unmoving. but that the train is still. the theatre. is not running. behind us. Rosalind & Jacques & Viola and all the other hundred multiplicities of himself acting & talking & rejoicing & suffering. Vidya. simple & easy truth. subjects our thoughts to the conditions of Time & Space.The Ishavasyopanishad 125 of the wondrous stir and stupendous unimaginable activity that the existence of the Universe implies. Knowledge tells him that this is not so.

one aspect or force is selected which is called Akash and of which ether is the visible manifestation. Out of ether a narrower force is selected or let loose which is called Vaiou or Matariswun. as we say. of matter. substance. and the Waking Consciousness Virat or Vaisvanor is a selection from the wider Dream Consciousness. as we should put it. the Sleeper in the Mother. selection by the action of Prakriti. that is a letting loose of a part from the whole. because he sleeps or rests directly in the mother-principle. Everything that we call creation. Thus we have seen that the Sleep Condition or Prajna is a letting loose or let us say selection of one part of consciousness from the wider Universal Consciousness. as the Scientists say. or a selection. similarly each individual consciousness is only a selection from the wider Universal Waking Consciousness. of a small portion from a larger stock. Science has done away with the Gods of the old crude mythology. It is the same with the process of material creation. Now we know the conception which the Scripture gives us of this Universe. THE STUDENT You speak of it as a God. metaphorically. The Sruti says that this infinitely motionless yet infinitely moving Brahman is that in which Matariswun setteth the waters. This is the great God who in the Brahman setteth the waters in their place. but let us see first whether by taking it in its proper sense we cannot arrive at a clear meaning. of the particular from the general.126 Isha Upanishad: Part Two THE GURU Perhaps. each step involving a narrower & ever narrowing consciousness until we come to that extremely narrow bit of consciousness which is only conscious of a bit out of the material & outward world of phenomena. . this akash or ether is the substratum of all form & material being. I think. a srishti. plasm or what you will. Out of the unformed Prakriti which the Sankhya calls Pradhana or primary idea. the Dream Consciousness or Hiranyagarbha is a selection from the wider Sleep Consciousness. Ether. putting forth & Science calls evolution is in reality a limitation. waters is the proper sense of ap. a natural selection they call it or.

— they are the Immortals and cannot be done away with by Science however vehemently she denies them. which is only one of the manifestations of Matariswun proper to this earth. beyond the house to the dweller in the house. most people would call this a natural force. THE STUDENT Is Air then a God or Wind a God? But it is only a conglomeration of gases. The principle of his being is motion materially manifested. but look beyond to the synthesis. he has numberless houses for his dwelling. matter is not everything and analysis is not everything. of which the most important manifestation in man is the force which presides over that distribution of gases in the body to which we give the name of Breath. an aspect of Brahman and can therefore be called nothing less than a God. THE STUDENT Still. So with the Air. not a God. but Matariswun is in all the worlds and built all the worlds.The Ishavasyopanishad 127 THE GURU The Gods are. beyond the parts to the force that holds the parts together. Matariswun therefore is the Principle of Life. and so materialism with an obstinate and learned silliness persists in asseverating. For behind every great & elemental natural phenomenon there is a vast living force which is a manifestation. . but man will never consent to regard himself as a conglomeration of animalcules. He looks beyond the analysis to the synthesis. By material analysis you can prove that man is nothing but a conglomeration of animalcules. and we know that it is by motion creation becomes possible. THE GURU That and nothing more in the terms of material analysis. because he knows that he is more. Of these Matariswun is one of the mightiest. the universal and all pervading ocean of Prana. only the knowledge of the One Brahman can do away with them. one of the houses in which he dwells.

so it uses aAp. Now notice that it is the plural word ap. then the secret of material creation will be solved. imitating the processes of Prakriti. all fluidities. so is Agni. a selection from Matariswun and the Waters a selection from fire. the earth-force. shall begin to follow it downstream. The material world is therefore often said in the Sruti to be produced out of the waters. resolving the solid into fluid. When Science instead of following the course of Nature upstream by analysis. So with the waters which are selected out of Agni by the operations of heat etc. out of the fluid to solidity which is its body. and the fiery into the aerial. Now just as Matariswun was a selection from Akasha or ether. using the plural jyotinshi. shining things.. the fluid principle. just as often you find the Sruti instead of the name Agni of the presiding principle. All the phenomena of light and everything from which heat proceeds have their immediate basis or substratum in Agni. lights. just as you must not suppose that the fire in yonder brazier or the sun in heaven is the only manifestation of the fiery principle. it arises on the substratum of ether with Matariswun or the Air Force as its principle & essential condition. and the operations of creation are . Fire. So again all earth. of the various manifestations of Varouna. there is as yet no Cosmos. Brahman Himself. which is used. Now life proceeds in this way. of the various manifestations of Agni. which is again a selection out of Jala or Varouna. You must not think that the waters of the ocean or of the rain are the only manifestations of this principle. the fluid into the fiery. We can now understand what the Sruti means when it says that Matariswun in Brahman setteth the waters to their places. all forms of solidity have their basis or substratum in Prithivi. by the operation of the fiery or light principle through heat. Brahman is the reality behind all material life. and especially studying & utilising critical stages of transition. splendours. nay. who in himself setteth the waters to their places. and Science will be able to create material life and not as now merely destroy it. only realise that Matariswun is a force of Brahman. the presiding force behind them. because so long as it does not emerge from the fluid state.128 Isha Upanishad: Part Two THE GURU Call him what you like.

of the Olympian type like Shankara. which gives Prakriti the force to act. that it should have spurred him to be the leader of insurgent humanity. All the great creators have been men who felt powerfully God within them. destroy you are doing. or Asuric. whether they were Daivic. of the Titanic type like Napoleon.The Ishavasyopanishad 129 only a limited part of His universal consciousness and cannot go on without that consciousness as its basis. for the purposes of mankind. not the trampler down of the immortal spirit of nationality. that He is the condition of all your deeds. but his mind being muddied by rajas. you will approach nearer and nearer to Godhead. being sattwic & a child of light. create. passion & desire.. sees clearer. which was a yet greater and more energetic manifestation of the Eternal Shakti than . “What is the French Revolution? I am the French Revolution. your work cannot be great. When Napoleon cried out. only the Asura. who is without end & without beginning. For what is Prakriti itself but the creation of the mighty Shakti. Remember therefore that all you do. Shankara is not perhaps wrong when he reads the meaning “actions” into ap. the more you realise & intensify in yourself Brahman as an ocean of spiritual force. Prakriti would be inert. for without the presence of Spirit. actions are the most important of all the various vital operations over which Matariswun presides. of his being the very force & power of God in action. which gave him such a stupendous energy & personality. the Shakti of the Eternal? Without some Jnana. nay could not exist. the Deva. of which you should only be careful as a vehicle of the Spirit. For the Spirit is all & not the body. he could not see that the very fact of his being the French Revolution should have pointed him to higher & grander ideals than the mere satisfaction of his vital part in empire & splendour. and the deeper your Jnana the greater your work. some knowledge & feeling of the Spirit within you. his Jnana being limited and muddied. is always confusing the Eternal with the grosser & temporary manifestations of Prakriti such as his own vital passions of lust & ambition. the mightier will be your creation & your destruction.” he gave utterance to that sense of his being more than a mere man. creating & destroying in Brahman.

for the world. then will you surely become Brahman even in this mortal body and by death take upon yourself eternity. The Sruti then having set forth the nature of the Lord & identified Him with the Brahman. Watch at night the innumerable constellations glittering like so many solemn watchfires of the Eternal in the limitless silence which is no void but throbs with the presence of a single calm and tremendous existence. the mighty Devi Chandi Ranarangini Nrimundamalini. the pure knowledge of Brahman within you and show it forth in nishkam karma. Lift your eyes towards the Sun. Had he fallen as the leader of humanity. therefore the Adyashakti.130 Isha Upanishad: Part Two himself. That is within all this and the same That is without all this. withdrew from him her varabhaya and fought against him till she had crushed and torn him with the claws of her lion. That moveth and That moveth not. He is there in that wonderful heart of life & light and splendour. Lyra sailing billions of miles away in the ocean of space. Remember that these innumerable worlds. — his spirit would have conquered after his death and ruled & guided the nations for centuries to come. as the Self within the Universe and the Self within your body. for your country. — he could not have fallen then. for humanity. but yet if he had fallen. once you have the key. — as has already been explained. proceeds to sum up the apparent paradoxes attending his twofold aspect as the Unknowable Parabrahman and the Master of the Universe. Therefore he fell. THE GURU No. are whirling with indescribable speed at the beck of that . Get therefore Jnana. see there Orion with his sword and belt shining as he shone to the Aryan fathers ten thousand years ago at the beginning of the Aryan era. That is far and the same That is quite near. most of them mightier than our own. But try to realise what it means. in selfless work for your people. there is no difficulty. Sirius in his splendour. THE STUDENT There is no difficulty in this statement.

It is yourself that burns yonder millions of miles away in the infinite reaches of Space. Imagine the endlessness of Time. and when these are not. that walks with confident steps on the tumbling billows of the ethereal sea. \ utterly apart from it. He is within all this as a limitless ocean of spiritual force. for if He were not. with his stick. Yes. He is nearer still to you. He is quite near to you. the mere flux & reflux of things. to repeat our figure. See yonder old man who passes near you crouching & bent. that silent actionless impersonal Will which has set you here today listening to yourself in me. a(yEt fAgl. for in your apparent body is One who can create & destroy worlds with a breath. He was. Do you realise that it is God who is passing? There a child runs laughing in the sunlight. and then remember that when these worlds were not. perceive that beyond Lyra He is and far away in Space where the stars of the Southern Cross cannot be seen. fear not. still He is there. it is you who have set the stars in their places and woven the necklace of the suns not with hands but by that Yoga. But He is outside it too. they are.The Ishavasyopanishad 131 Ancient of Days whither none but He knoweth. Look up. He is outside it in the sense of exceeding it. He is \. neither this outer you nor this outer I nor this Sun nor all these worlds could last for even a millionth part of the time that is taken by a falling eyelid. and yet that they are a million times more ancient than your Himalaya. There is a kind of Pantheism which sees the Universe as God and not God as the Universe. Can you hear Him in that laughter? Nay. He is in you. grieve not. He is you. and be no longer a trembler and a doubter. but it is necessary to grasp it. more steady than the roots of your hills and shall so remain until He at his will shakes them off like withered leaves from the eternal tree of the Universe. And then come back to the Earth & realise who this He is. Even in His manifestation. doubt not. the Same as now. This truth is more difficult to grasp than the other. realise the boundlessness of Space. but God in His shadows & appearances. divisible. still the Same. the shadows and figments of Shakespeare’s . He shall be. in His unmanifestation. O child of the ancient Yoga. but if the Universe is God. but all these are not God in Himself. then is God material. changeable.

you cannot go out of your Self. because it was in his mind and is in his mind. but apart from it and other than it. have they emanated to? Which is their locality and where is their habitation? You cannot go anywhere where you will be outside God. pray. Is it in the impressions made on the material brain by the forgotten sounds? Nay the Sleep Self within you. Emanation is a silly word and a silly idea. tell you about Hamlet. THE STUDENT Do you mean that these are emanations from His Mind? THE GURU I do not. For though you flee to the uttermost parts of space. Are Hamlet & the rest of them emanations from Shakespeare’s mind? Will you tell me then where they have emanated to? Is it on to those pages. if it is liberated by any adequate process of Yoga or powerful hypnosis. and the knowledge that we get in the waking condition through such vehicles as speech & writing are mere fragments created (let loose) from it & yet within it. Is it in the sounds that the letters represent? sounds that are heard this moment and forgotten the next? But Hamlet is not forgotten — he lives on in your mind for ever.132 Isha Upanishad: Part Two mind. he is not only both in it and outside it. those corruptions of pulp which are made today and destroyed tomorrow? Is it into those combinations of those letters of the English alphabet with which the pages are covered? Put them into combinations of any other alphabet. God is not a body emitting vapours. All knowledge belongs to it by its nature perpetually and from perpetuity. and still Hamlet will live for him. and you can know of Hamlet because your mind is part of the same universal mind as Shakespeare’s — part. but in reality that mind is one and indivisible. If they have emanated from Him. Shakespeare is not only vaster than all his drama-world put together. where. even if you have never heard or read the play of Hamlet. in appearance. Shakespeare’s drama-world never emanated from Shakespeare’s mind. I say. just as the worlds are mere . will. or relate them in any language to a man who knows not what letters are. He is there.

very poor ground therefore on which to build a philosophy. is a mistaken & inverted Pantheism. like the metaphor in the Sruti about the spider & his web. but not the truth. — even if some have seen more than there . because they came in a spirit of arrogance with preconceived ideas to teach & not to learn. in the sense of being consciousness selected & set apart from the Universal Consciousness.The Ishavasyopanishad 133 fragments created (let loose) from the Brahman. THE GURU Nay. What do you think of Charvak’s interpretation of Vedic religion as neither pantheistic nor polytheistic but a plutotheistic invention of the Brahmins? An European or his disciple in scholarship can no more enter into the spirit of the Veda than the wind can blow freely in a closed room. — convenient for certain purposes. Men like Max Muller presume to lecture us on our Veda & Vedanta because they know something of Sanscrit grammar. And pedants especially can never go beyond the manipulation of words. To realise God in the Universe & in yourself. but only towards grammar. you will hear more wonderful things than that. and it is therefore that the Rigveda unlike the Upanishad may lead either to the continuation of bondage or to Brahmaloka. if you seek the interpretation of your religion from Christians. They had not the adhikar to enter. and their learning was therefore not helpful towards truth. This inverted Pantheism is the outer aspect of the Rigveda. but always within the Brahman. while the Upanishad can lead only to Brahmaloka or to the Brahman Himself. is true Pantheism and it is the necessary step for approaching the Unknowable. Others ignorant of the very rudiments of Sanscrit. but to mistake the Universe for God. we find them playing marbles on the doorsteps of the outer court of the temple. not real Pantheism. have seen more deeply than they. atheists and agnostics. THE STUDENT But the new scholarship tells us that the Rigveda is either henotheistic or polytheistic. but when we come to them for light. Emanation is a metaphor.

they perceived that Brahman was neither the Visvadevas nor the synthesis of the Visvadevas but something other than they. . ^ . THE GURU If you really understand. If on the other hand the same man worshipped different nature-forces. for there is hardly one of us who has not his ishta-devata. there would have been inevitably violent conflicts between the various sects and perpetual wars of religion but such there were not. Rama. Krishna or Shakti. And this was indeed the outer aspect of the Vedic religion. this new word. y-t svAEZ BtA yA(m yvAnp yEt. This is what is . . then are we still henotheist. . but when the seers of the Veda left their altars to sit in meditation. then is this Pantheism. yet we all recognize but one Lord of the Universe behind the form we worship. Maruti. he is neither the synthesis of Nature nor anything that the Universe contains. THE STUDENT I understand. Vishnou. the ill begotten of pedantry upon error? If it is meant that various sections of the Aryas consider different Gods as the God above all & the others false or comparatively false Gods. the sublimest moral principle to be found in any religion. then was the revelation made that is given us in the Upanishads. it is meant that different worshippers preferred to worship the Lord of the Universe in different particular forms. . pure and simple. To man finding himself in the midst of the paradoxes created .134 Isha Upanishad: Part Two was to see. but himself contains the Universe which is only a shadow of His own Mind in His own Mind. Siva. svBtq cA(mAn tto n Evjg=st \ . but each in its turn as the Lord of the Universe. What for instance is this henotheism. t @yAnyogAngtA ap yn dvA(mfE \ -vgZEngYAm. Ganapati.{ ^ meant by saying that Brahman is outside all this. then are you ready for the next step which the Sruti takes when it draws from the unity of the Brahman. If on the other hand.

That is but one application of an universal principle. defeat. thy friends & enemies are in Him. victory. It produces another itself out of itself. the same in appearance. This whole Universe is but the result of One universal Will which having resolved to create multitude in itself has made itself into all the forms you see within it.. one species differentiates itself from another. a sure staff and a perfect ideal. THE GURU Because Avidya. sorrow. the Shakti that knows & the Shakti that plays at not knowing. all. ay be they very tears of blood. it does not divide itself. that is Brahman. of himself. 2 Here the following sentences which occur again in a rewritten form twelve pages later are found in the manuscript. in size. enclosed within parentheses but not cancelled: If thy mind fails thee. enemies. See all creatures in thy Self. which may yet help you to understand. no joys or sorrows but of your own making. the Sruti gives an unfailing guide. wipe them from thy eye and look out on the Universe. you have no friends or enemies. beauty and ugliness. thy self. wife. t/ ko moh.The Ishavasyopanishad 135 by the twofold nature of the Self. There is thy Self. and the world becomes brighter with your radiance. thy joy. friends. children. Take that as an imperfect example. for by division it could not grow. If you come to think of it. in nature and so it builds up the body which is only itself multiplied in itself. The Will is the root of all things. thy sorrow. This body is built by the protoplasm multiplying itself. . Scientists tell you that it is by the will to adapt itself in a particular way to its surroundings. k. dash away tears. Think a little. THE STUDENT The idea is difficult to grasp. too vast & yet too subtle. the sense of difference is your natural condition in the body. you will to be strong & beautiful and happy.2 Yes. joy. if the anguish of thy coverings still conceals the immortal Spirit within. you will to have wife & children. You will to be sick & sorry and sickness & sorrow seize you. fok ek(vmnp yt. animation and inanimation — all these are but moods of One Consciousness and that Consciousness is our own. friends & enemies and they arise. and all these things. .

All these are however figures and appearances and whatever He does. animals. but out of itself. enemies. while more skilful hypnosis shows you that they are one consciousness working variously within itself. as a man & woman create a son out of themselves. and seem to be outside you only for appearance’ sake. friends. finally He seems to subtract Himself from Himself. the Universal Mind. because as I have told you. whatever they are. wife. you get the samashti or synthesis of all. since He is all Space & all Time. like actors on a stage. whatever they do. it is yourself who are injuring yourself. you have made them that. you are the root of their action. in one sense He seems to divide himself like the human consciousness because He is the unit & all seem to be partial expressions of the comprehensive unit. In one sense the One seems to us to multiply himself like the protoplasm. because you will be injuring none but yourself. because the One Jivatman is the same in all. each step in creation is a letting loose or separating of part from a wider entity.136 Isha Upanishad: Part Two THE STUDENT But it multiplies not in itself. you will be angry with none. Why indeed should you hate them & try to injure them any more . analysis in parts. and so the process goes on till of the vyashti. hence the fundamental similarity of consciousness in all beings. it must be in Himself. because He has nowhere else to do it in. Realise therefore that all these around you. men. children. because you the consciousness who are He add yourself to your wife the consciousness who is again He and become one. Nor will you injure them. For how can you be angry with any. again he seems to add pieces of Himself together. THE GURU So it appears to you because it is working in Time & Space. for the convenience of the play. therefore you will hate none & therefore you will try to injure none. or that you imagine two separate consciousnesses in one man. animate things & inanimate are in you. — for the same reason that there seem to you [to] be many Jivatmans outside each other. If you realise this. while deeper knowledge shows you one only. if your enemies injure you.

on the part of Shakespeare — since it is Shakespeare himself who set Iago there to injure Othello. for pleasure is different from bliss. for in yourself you must delight. the realisation of oneness & universality. disgust. since indeed there is no Othello or Iago. brings with it a touch of bliss by a partial oblivion of pain. The nature of the Self in a state of Vidya is bliss. For the purpose of continuing the play till the proper time for your final exit. but if you did that only. Every thing therefore which removes even partially the sense of difference and helps towards the final unity. as it is limited & involves pain. loathing coexist? They . all things being in yourself. you cannot but love all creatures. This is the negative side of morality. you cannot help but delight in ecstatically. but only Shakespeare creating himself in himself. of ignorance. you must also see yourself in all creatures.The Ishavasyopanishad 137 than Shakespeare hated Iago for injuring Othello. dislike. If therefore you see yourself in another. The nature of the Self in the state of Avidya. but there is a positive for which the Sruti next proceeds to lay down the basis. that bliss is born. you cannot loathe yourself. Loathing and hatred are the children of illusion. If you see yourself in all creatures. it is when pain itself becomes pleasure. are your own creation. do you think that Shakespeare shared the feelings of [Lodovico] when he condemned the successful villain to death & torture? If Shakespeare did hate Iago. Why then should you consider your hatred of yourself made enemy more reasonable than Shakespeare’s hatred of his own creation? No. is swallowed up in pleasure. You must for the purpose of withdrawing yourself from unrealities see all creatures in the Self. But that which brings you bliss. you would soon arrive at the Nirvana of all action and ring down the curtain on an unfinished play. and with Universal Love how shall any shred of hate. are yourself. while the nature of bliss is illimitable and above duality. the false sense of diversity and limitation is a state not of pure bliss but of pleasure & pain. you cannot help but love. now the state of Vidya is a state of self-realisation. and you cannot hate your own creation. you would at once say that it was illusion. Universal love is the inevitable consequence of the realisation of the One in Many. Avidya. you spontaneously love that other.

But beyond these there is something else not so intelligible. the liking of the mind sheath for whatever gives it aesthetic gratification. liking for whatever satisfies or helps us to our desire. the liking of the vital sheath for whatever gives it emotional gratification. From Desire-Hunger are born liking & dislike. called Desire. my liking would fade or vanish since the effect would lose the nutrition of a present cause. her pleasant speech. Then if aesthetic gratification were all. my liking also will begin to fade away. I have seen this brute impulse given the name of love. This sort of liking too is persistently given the great name and celebrated in poetry & romance. If emotional gratification were all. All hatred & repulsion arises from the one cause. her sympathy with my likes & dislikes. But the moment these cease. This liking in this way created is the liking of the protoplasmic sheath for whatever gives it sensual gratification. but only so long as she gave me emotional pleasure. which begot desire called Hunger. Take it in another way and we get a new facet of the one truth. but when the wrinkles began to trace the writing of age on her face or when accident marred her beauty. my liking for a woman of great beauty or great charm might well outlast the loss of all emotional gratification. Intellectual gratification seldom enters into the love of a man for a woman. which begot Will. which begot Ahankar. then I might indeed cling for a time to the woman who had pleased my body. beyond my liking for the beautiful body of a woman or for a fine picture or a pleasant companion or an exciting play or a clever speaker or a good poem or an illuminative and well-reasoned argument there is my liking for somebody which has no justification or apparent reason. by her obedience. her admiration or her answering love. dislike for whatever obstructs or diminishes the satisfaction of desire. the liking of the knowledge sheath for whatever gives it intellectual gratification. then it is obvious that I should have no reason to prefer one woman over another and after the brute gratification liking would cease. Avidya. If sensual gratification were all. perhaps I myself used to give it that name when the protoplasmic animal predominated in me. even if it did .138 Isha Upanishad: Part Two dissolve in it like the night mists in the blaze of the risen sun.

of the outer aspect of whom the Sruti has beautifully said “Love is his right side” etc. as if he were only an intellectual helper or teacher. as I would perhaps love a disciple. a Joan of Arc. Whence then comes that love which is greater than life and stronger than death. which defies the utmost pain & scorn the object of love can deal out to it. not my body or mind or tastes or feelings. No. he is my other self. nor for that similarity of tastes & pursuits I would ask in a mere comrade. I love him because I have discovered the very Self of me in him. That Love is nothing but the Self recognizing the Self dimly or clearly and therefore seeking to realise oneness & the bliss of oneness. because in the old imperishable phrase. a Pratap Singh or a Sivaji. Ruru & Savitri are but dreams & imaginations. Human nature conscious of its divinity throws back the libel in scorn. whose flames rise higher than the red tongues of the funeral pyre. interest or selfish pleasure. because I love him. but they are not the soul of friendship. which lives on neglect and thrives on scorn & cruelty. nor do I necessarily demand of him a clever brain. So is it with the patriot. Love is the turning of the Self from its false self in the mind or body to its true Self in another. we have a Mazzini. a Washington. the lower material self . that Rama & Sita. he has seen himSelf in his nation & seeks to lose his lower self in that higher national Self. vanity. because he can do so. which often pours out from a great & high intellect on one infinitely below it? What again is that love of woman which nothing can surpass. All these feelings exist. nor do I love him because he loves me or admires me. and poetry blesses & history confirms its verdict. There by intuition the old Roman hit on the utter secret of Love. What again is a friend? Certainly I do not seek from my friend the pleasure of the body or choose him for his good looks. a Garibaldi. but my very Self of love & bliss. more frequently the intellectual gratification to be derived from a single mind is soon exhausted in daylong and nightlong companionship. I love my friend for the woman’s reason.The Ishavasyopanishad 139 so. which follows you into heaven or draws you out of hell? Say not that this love does not exist and that all here is based on appetite. which survives the loss of beauty and the loss of charm.

he who turned from perfect divine bliss as he had turned from perfect human bliss that not he alone but all creatures might be saved. from the great fundamental ignorance which creates Ahankara. So is it with the lover of humanity. humanity. narrow and transient pleasure. yet between this community and that community. the hate. the sense that this I must eat that you. of whom the mighty type is Buddha. Christianity hopes . hatred cannot cease. upon the equal division of goods or even upon the common possession of goods. for always the mine & thine. instead of the stainless bliss of your true self which is the whole Universe & more than the Universe. no enlightened selfishness could have given us Father Damien or Jesus or Florence Nightingale. the greed. or else you will take it. a gross. patriotism. death to yourself and death to others. philanthropy. you do not manufacture such men in the workshop of utility. who loses or seeks to lose his lower self in mankind. covetousness cannot cease. To see your Self in all creatures and all creatures in your Self — that is the unshakeable foundation of all religion. Paradise cannot be made upon the basis of food and drink. of everything which rises above selfishness and gross utility. For what is selfishness? it is mistaking the body & the vital impulses for your true self and seeking their gratification. The sense that this is I and that is you. which at once leads to Desire. sorrow & misery cannot cease. the sense of your individual existence. the preoccupation with your own individual existence. the one unapproachable ideal of Divine Love in man. war cannot cease. that is the basis of all selfishness. in order to live & avoid being eaten. will return again if not between this man & that man. love. evil & sin cannot cease. and that I must take this or that. Selfishness arises from Avidya. And so long as the difference between I and you exists.140 Isha Upanishad: Part Two could not have given us these. on the forge of Charvaka or grow them in the garden of Epicurus. to Hunger which is Death. This is the eternal Maya that makes a mock of all materialistic schemes for a materialistic Paradise upon earth. that is the principle of material existence from which arises strife and hatred. and because sin cannot cease. So is it finally with the lover of the whole world.

after banishing the vast majority of mankind to the outer darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. Divine love. loving and helping each other. it was divine love after all seeking to save the soul at the cost of the perishable body! But the Aryan spirit of the East. not though Christ should descend with all his angels and cut the knot. perhaps it still hopes. But that millennium too will not come. there are wise men who find an apology for these pious torturers. and this is how the European mind interpreted divine love & divine pity! The fires of Hell aptly and piously anticipated on earth by the fires of Smithfield. Already Europe does homage to humanity with her lips and in the gateways of her mind. that was the message which India sent to Europe through the lips of Jesus. when they pictured the saints as drawing added bliss from the contemplation of the eternal tortures in which those they had lived with and perhaps loved. were agonizing. but sweet and gracious shadow of Buddhism distorted in the sombre & cruel minds of those fierce Mediterranean races. though there is little in the state of the modern world to flatter its dreams. perhaps some day she will do so with her heart also. the spirit of Buddha struggles for ever with European barbarism and surely in the end it shall conquer. the unspeakable reek of e agony that steams up thro’ history from the dungeons of the Holy Office — nay. At any rate the millennium of Tertullian is out of date. . which dominates the best European thought and the Christian ideal is the ideal of the united family. the glowing splendours of the Auto-da-f´ . What a mad dream of diseased imaginations that men could be really and everlastingly happy while mankind was everlastingly suffering! How would the everlasting hatred breathing out from the innumerably-peopled furnaces of pain blast & mar with unconquerable smoke of Hell the light & peace of the saints! And how strangely was the slight.The Ishavasyopanishad 141 to make men live together like brothers — a happy family. But still it is the Christian ideal. by setting up this united family of mankind with the meagre remnants of the pure and faithful. divine pity. the Syrian interpretation of the truth and not the truth itself. the nature of the Buddha.

gentle in heart & thought and not merely decent in words & actions. It is enough for them if a woman abstain from carrying out her desire in action. Have you ever watched a big united family. This if not sheer unAryanism or Mlecchahood is at best the half baked virtue of the semi-Aryanised.142 Isha Upanishad: Part Two THE STUDENT Surely it is a noble ideal. if a man abstain from physical violence. What the joint-family is on a small scale. can last. what jarring. it will come not when all mankind are as brothers. but if it is ever to come. a joint-family in Bengal especially in days when the Aryan discipline is lost? Behind its outward show of strength and unity. We may never have a Paradise on earth. That is true self-control and real morality. You would not get rid of the much more cruel mangling of the human Self by hatred. Mankind as an united family would mean in practice mankind as an united nation. what envy & covetousness! And then finally one day a crash. based upon Avidya and the inevitable fruits of Avidya. The Europeans attach too much importance to the body. & not merely careful in speech & body. then is the one chaste. no Paradise even if it existed. greed and strife. . THE GURU Very noble and we have it among ourselves in a noble cou\ plet vsDv kVMbk. but everything which implies difference is . . that on a big scale is an united nation. No Paradise therefore can exist. for brothers jar and hate as much & often more than mere friends or strangers. however maimed by long bondage. — for a time — of the mangling of men’s bodies by men. a case in the law-courts. Be you who are born in the Aryan discipline. the other selfcontrolled. is not of the first importance. shrink too much from physical sin and are far too much at their ease with mental sin. but the body though to be respected as the chosen vehicle or the favourite dress of Brahman. a separation for ever. until that which makes sin and hell is conquered. chaste in mind & spirit. Russia or Austria or Germany or the United Kingdom. a war.{ . what dissensions. what petty malice & hatred. How much would you gain by it? You would get rid of war. an Aryan indeed.

in the snake that bites and the scorpion that stings. the sense of loss. The law of Karma is inexorable. . and yet the impossible repeatedly happens. Distrust all Utopias that seek to destroy sin or scrape away part of the soil in which it grows while preserving intact the very roots of sin. likes and dislikes are born. hatred. — the infinite and eternal procession of the dualities. cherish this. in this life or in another.The Ishavasyopanishad 143 but when all mankind has realised that it is one Self. wrath. cannot hate. who know that from this strange disguise the Brahman looks out with smiling eyes? This foeman who comes with a sword to pierce me through the heart. the Sruti will not spare you the \ . kindness. love. and whatever you deal out to others. dislike for what hinders it. of the far-off event to which humanity moves. the atmosphere of pain. meanest insect that crawls or the foulest worm that writhes. tto n Evjg=st. For once Ahankar is there. even such shall be the effect on yourself. will ever come to see in the dog and the vulture. Ahankar born of Ignorance & Desire. cruelty. Nor can that be until mankind has realised that all existence is oneself. nay that they will know these things as themself? svBtq cA(mAn. . nay. and all the others come tumbling in in its wake. he has neither repulsion nor fear. THE STUDENT It does not seem possible. if you must have an ideal. rAg qO the primal couple of dualities. attraction. . At any rate. — I look beyond the sharp threatening sword. pity. that they will say unto Death my brother & to Destruction my sister. THE GURU It does not. Admit but one pair. the sense of possession. he shrinks from none. liking for what farthers the satisfaction of desire. Do you think then that this strange thing will ever come about that mankind in general. hatred & fear breathing up from the lower creation will infect & soil the purity of the upper. Yonder leper whom all men shun — but shall I shun him. repulsion. for if an united humanity tyrannise over bird & beast & insect. But the man who sees himself in all creatures. charm. repugnance. their own Self.

because I have broken thy laws perchance to give bread to starving thousands. God in thy defeat. I will try then to save it. for who would trouble himself to be angry with a child because in its play or little childish wrath it has torn his dress? Perhaps I valued the dress and would not so soon have parted with it. nay. indivisible. and if I will not to regard thee as my enemy. this foodsheath or multiplied protoplasm which I wear — I am what I was before. Thou canst but tear this dress of me. and even punish thee without anger so that thou mayst not tear more dresses. Who or what is this thou deemest will die by hanging? A bundle of animalculae. so shalt thou be what thou truly art. how canst thou be my enemy unless I choose. hate none. blow me from the mouth of thy cannon? Me thou canst not pierce. it was but a cloth and another can soon be had from the merchant. and I recognize the mask of my Self. behind them is One who neither slayeth nor is slain. dread none. Mask called a judge. pierce me with bullets. for I am unslayable. But thou wilt divide me with thy sword. torture me with fire. but do thy part with strength and courage. O son of the ancient Yoga. God in thy victory. I will not be angry with thee even. thou who sittest pronouncing that I be hanged by the neck till I be dead. thou wilt slay me. I have played mine. that great dreamer & artist. immovable. play thou thy part. have I not already paid the purchase-money? O my judge. but if I cannot — well. thou canst no more be such than a dream or shadow can. — God who will not be defeated & who cannot die. This outward thou & I are but stage masks. as indeed thy flashing sword is but a dream and thy scowling brow but a shadow. unburnable. then shall power be given thee to hang me. loathe nothing. unpierceable. thereafter I shall neither fear the sword nor hate the bearer. perchance to help the men of my country whom thou wouldst keep as slaves for thy pleasure — Me wilt thou hang? When thou canst shake the sun from heaven or wrap up the skies like a garment. fear nothing.144 Isha Upanishad: Part Two beyond the scowling brow and the eyes of hate. no more. realise thy Self in all things. O myself who foolishly callest thyself mine enemy. friend & enemy are but creations of the Mind that myriad-working magician. . God in thy very death & torture. if I may.

have lost this house.The Ishavasyopanishad 145 Shall God fear any? shall He despair? shall He tremble & shake? Nay ’tis the insects that form thy body & brain which shake & tremble. That is the realisation of the mighty ideal. There. realise all creatures in the Self. pain shall not touch thee. that in us all things will become ourself. fok ek(vmnp yt. bewilderment by the force of Maya. My son has disappointed me? He has taken his own way & not mine. Thou within them sittest looking with calm eyes at their pain & terror. with my Self. Harischandra. Nor shall I weep because my wife is dead & lost. death shall not dare to come near to thee lest he be slain. He who discerneth. sorrow. for they are but shadows that dream of themselves as a reality. for wherever he looks (anp yt. but as near to me as ever. Delusion (moh) is the mistaking of the appearance for the reality. how has my son disappointed me from whom I hoped so much. in the man whose Self has become all creatures. “This house that my fathers had was mine and alas. how shall he be deluded. Realise the Self in all creatures. .). then in the end terror shall flee from thee in terror. whence shall he have sorrow. as much after death as when her body was underneath my hands.” I can lose nothing except to myself. What a calamity!” He says “I.” All these are the utterances of delusion and the result of delusion is fok. Devadatta. I have lost it. there can be no delusion and therefore no sorrow. the man I hated has got it. I cannot lose my Self. and she is lost to me for ever. k. But to one whose Self has become all creatures. That is fortunate. who is not lost at all. but it has gone to me. He does not say “I. Devadatta. but he has not disappointed himSelf .. my rival.” “Alas.” “This office for which I hoped and schemed. nothing but God.” “This was my wife whom I loved. in my Self. in whose eyes all things are One. have lost this house. nothing but his own Self of love and bliss. what delusion can there be or what sorrow. says the Sruti. yE-mn svAEZ BtA yA(mvABE jAnt. since she is still my Self. sees nothing but the great Oneness. in whom all creatures have become himSelf. { ^ t/ ko moh. he . the moral and practical result of perfected Vedanta. lest itself be tortured by thy touch.

Such a soul has become God. One is the way of Insight. There are two ways of Karma. the child chooses to think he is hurt & cries. his eyes are not bedimmed by tears. the foulness of the world cannot pollute his mind nor repel his sympathy. hush the mind & its organs and rising above . for how can He grieve who is all this Universe? The pain of his petty personal Self is no more to his consciousness than the pain of a crushed ant to a king as he walks musing in his garden bearing on his shoulders the destiny of nations. Buddha did not weep when he saw the suffering of the world. he does not shrink from the ordure that stains his own hands. The vision of the One Self dispels all differences. as he stoops to lift the sinner from the dung heap in which he wallows. the other by devotion to the Self as Lord of all extended in the Universe. And surely such a soul will not grieve over the buffets the outward world seems to give to his outward self. yet all-enveloping omnipotence of the Self within. The sin. an infinite love. He cannot feel sorrow for himself even if he would. he lifts him as a father lifts his child who has tumbled in the mire and is crying. the father knows he is not really hurt. he has only disappointed the sheath. therefore he does not grieve. for he has the joy of the whole Universe at his command. when he lifts up the shrieking sufferer out of his pit of pain. For the first you must turn your eyes within instead of without. an infinite calm. to the Vision. an infinite tolerance. the disease. not weak to weep and increase the ocean of human tears with his own. quiescence of the sheaths & the ineffable unacting. rather he lifts him up & soothes the wilful imaginary pain. put from you the pleasures of contact & sense. an infinite charity. he went forth to save. but neither does he chide him. one by Yoga. the case. his own joy is nothing to him. the other the way of World-Sight. for he has the sorrow of a whole world to relieve. There are two ways of Bhakti. the stain. mighty & loving to help and save. one by devotion to the Self as Lord of all concentrated within you. There are two ways of attaining to Jnana.146 Isha Upanishad: Part Two who is my Self. is the very nature of the strong soul that has seen God. the mental cell in which I was imprisoned. the other by quiescence of desire and selfless activity of the sheaths for the wider Self in the Universe.

the anguish of thy coverings still conceal the immortal Spirit within? Dash the tears from thine eyes. for power infinite is within thee. succour the oppressed. limit the vision there. their numberless joys & sorrows. this life. too difficult for thee? Does thy mind fail thee. that is Brahman. this light. the storm blows in thee. Realise all this Cosmic Stir. this little insect-sheath. Even in death thou shalt know that ecstasy and rejoice in the blood as it flows from thee. Wrestle with mighty wrongdoers. though they be tears of blood. Disposer & Destroyer. The Ocean rolls in thee. If thou wert not. Thou canst break them if thou wilt and thou canst rescue them from their griefs and miseries if thou wilt. Where is the strength to follow them and the way to find that strength? THE GURU The strength is in yourself and the way to find that strength . Canst thou grieve over the miseries of this little speck in the Brahman. THE STUDENT These ideals are too high. thou shalt soon be initiated into the bliss of the One who is in all. thou art this Sun and this moon and these Constellations.. It is thou thyself that art stirring through all this Universe. these things would not be. this ceaseless activity. of whose miseries thou art the maker and thou canst be the ender? Is the vision too great for thee? Look round thee then. amongst which what are thine? they are all thy Self and they are all in Thee. the hills stand firm in thee. thou wilt soon feel what a joy has been so long lost to thee. That is thy self. Is this . aA(mtE rA(mArAm. These men & women and living things that are round thee. a joy in which thy own sorrows grow like an unsubstantial mist. free the slave and the bound and thou shalt soon know something of the joy that is more than any pleasure. Learn the sorrows of those who live near thee and remove them. Thou wilt not be the Asura to injure thyself in others? Be then the Deva to help thy Self in others. still persist in wiping them away as they ooze out and look out on the Universe. this rolling of the suns. Thou art their Creator.The Ishavasyopanishad 147 the dualities become One in yourself.

certain and attainable about it — nothing metaphysical. But accept that ideal first or you will have no spur to help you over the obstacles in the way.148 Isha Upanishad: Part Two has been laid down from the times of old. it is the business of philosophy & religion to dispel his delusion & force him to face the truth. an unfailing spear of strength. Truth alone is a sure & everlasting rock of rest. which has something finite. THE STUDENT But many wise men are of the opinions that these smaller ideals are the truth. The whole universe rests upon Truth. THE GURU We have heard something about it in this country. To be comfortable in delusion is the nature of man in his tamasic covering of gross matter-stuff. a system of morality by arithmetic called utilitarianism which would have man pass his life with a pair of scales in his hand weighing good . not religion and philosophy which are a delusion. THE GURU Tell me one of these newborn truths that profess to dispel the knowledge that is without end & without beginning. for you know more of the science of the West than I. not on the Is Not. but after all they break down & leave you tumbling through Chaos. THE STUDENT But how many will accept the ideal. nothing abstract. THE STUDENT There is the doctrine of the greatest good of the greatest number. on the Is. when there are so many easier ideals to give them strength & comfort? THE GURU But are those ideals true? Delusions may give you strength & comfort for a while.

Whatever it has of value. there is the satisfaction of vanity. the vanity of hearing oneself praised. I think. and Srikrishna never knew grief or pain. because it is not in human nature. human feelings. the vanity of feeling “How very good I am. his country and the world. Most true — and a truth we needed not to learn from either hedonist or utilitarian. the whole life of Srikrishna was a busy working for the good of others. It gives us standards of weight & measure which are utterly impossible to fix.The Ishavasyopanishad 149 & evil. It did good in its time. But there are three kinds of pleasure to be had from charity and beneficence. and what is worse. a qualified accountant has yet to be born on the human plane. that by doing good to others. is at the bottom . false. You cannot assess pleasure & pain. Utilitarian hedonism — is not that the phrase — suggests. no human being ever made or ever will make an arithmetical calculation of the pain & pleasure to result from an action and the numbers of the people diversely affected by them. abstract emotions are elusive and variable from moment to moment. is really empty of any definite truth and impotent to give any sound and helpful guidance. dry and lifeless. I think. Utilitarianism with all its appearance of extreme practicality and definiteness. this system of moral accounts needs a different planet for its development. and could not last. The Buddhists knew it 2000 years ago and the Aryans of India practised it before that. but it was not true. it has copied or rather caricatured from altruism. THE STUDENT In what is it not true? THE GURU It is not true. good and evil in so many ounces & pounds. before doing the action. a creed arid. it is in itself as barren of light as of inspiration. we really provide a rarer and deeper pleasure for ourselves than any purely self-limited gratification can give us.” This. This sort of ethical algebra. of his friends. and it fails to provide any philosophical justification for self-sacrifice nor any ardent inspiration towards it.

all good & evil have their birth. of the earth. which unless we are Yogins we . their existence and their end in the Self. Altruism is not the sacrifice of self to others. intellectual and essential. it is this. it may lead to charity but never to self-sacrifice. vital. Good & evil are relative & depend on the standpoint we take with reference to the true locality of Self in this little cosmos of man. sometimes a warring agglomeration of the feelings & impulses belonging to the various husks in which the true Self is wrapped. Then there is the joy of having done a good work and brought oneself nearer to heaven which used to be and perhaps still is the most common incentive to beneficence in Aryaland. and it is here that hedonism comes most into play. if we locate it in its true place. earthy. good & evil are therefore not permanent and definite entities. the former are a heterogeneous conglomeration. if we locate that Self low down our “good” will be a poor thing. The hedonistic element in utilitarianism is an imperfect & blundering effort to grope for a great truth which it has neither been able to grasp itself nor set forth with scientific accuracy. of seeing the joy return to tear-worn faces & paindimmed eyes. that the compound result we call man is a compound result and not the single simple homogeneous being our senses would believe. It follows therefore that even the highest love & altruism are bounded by the Self. little distinguishable from evil. and his true self is none of these heterogeneous factors of the element the Self lives in. its best value is that it is helpful towards purification. but it is narrow and does not reach the true self. but something beyond & transcendent. of suffering for others. he is composed of several elements. vast & pure as the heavens. Pain & pleasure. All pain & pleasure. but the sacrifice of our false self to our true Self. but it is a poor spring and will break down under any strain. our good will be as high. feel the bliss that comes from the upsurging of God within. That is a more powerful spring. To these hedonism is as vanity and the babbling of children. Then there are the natures born for love & unselfishness who in the mere joy of helping others. That truth is found only in the clear & luminous teaching of the Vedanta. mental.150 Isha Upanishad: Part Two of much charity in India and more in Europe. corporeal.

it must be as a result of contact. Emotional pleasure is higher than corporeal. not for the sake of the wife but for the sake of the Self. intellectual than aesthetic. spiritual than ethical. It follows that the more inward the sheath with which we confuse the Self. where the element of error reaches the vanishing point. Utilitarianism gets a partial & confused view of the truth and being unable properly to correlate it. for the gratification of the understanding. the more exalted the conception of Good. we shall then desire the wife for the gratification of the true Self.” Only if we mistake things for the Self which are not the true Self. but we cannot love by -pf. by mere contact. we shall not desire her at all. This is the whole truth and the whole philosophy of ethics. If we see the Self. if we mistake the mind husk for the self we shall desire the wife for aesthetic gratification & the pleasurable sense of her presence. we shall. we shall desire the wife for corporeal gratification.The Ishavasyopanishad 151 can best see in others. we shall know that she is already our Self and therefore not to be desired in her sheaths. until in the real naked Self we rise beyond good & evil because we have no longer any need of good or any temptation to evil. aesthetic than emotional. of becoming One. as a result. True love is not the love of others but the love of our Self. the purer the pleasure. we shall desire the wife for her qualities & virtues. if we mistake the vital emotion-husk for Self we shall desire the wife for emotional gratification. for we cannot possibly love what is not ourself. groping about for some . her capacities & mental gifts. and cannot give rise to a permanent feeling such as love. in the bliss Sheath. since She is already possessed. looks etc about the house. if we mistake the intellect husk for the self. economising of energies for the purposes of social stability or some other important but impermanent end. Yajnavalkya well said. her voice. If we mistake the food-husk for Self. the bliss of the sense of Union. because contact is temporary in its nature and in its results. ethical than intellectual. mistake things for love which are not real love. all else is practical arrangement and balancing of forces. And if we have seen & understood our true Self without husk or covering. because we shall possess her. “We desire the wife. If we love what is not ourself.

conceptual me. But beyond this society has not any claim on me. not I for society. That is businesslike. But what utility? I. but that has no terrors for an egotist of strong character. this perfected animal. law & order and a good police. I regard society then as a fraudulent depositor who wishes to draw from my ethical bank more than he has deposited. my goods. utility for this vital. I no longer follow you. both utilitarian & rational. for they are breaking no powerful sanctions. If then I have to sacrifice what I perhaps most deeply cherish for society. My utility is to get as much sensual. for society. Morality with the vital sensational man becomes in an utilitarian age merely the fear of social or legal punishment. if I have other instincts than those of the respectable citizen. why should I refrain? What holds me? If I can earn a huge fortune rapidly by some safe form of swindling. and strong men do not fear. and ability to carry them out. So much as is necessary to keep up government. Moreover. So might argue the average man who is neither immoral nor deeply moral but only respectable. for these things are necessary to my safety & comfort. my use for society ceases. nor unless their acts shake the social framework will an utilitarian society care to condemn them. he knows well that he can hush the disapproval of society under a shower of gold coin. society exists for me. society has given me these & I must see to & pay for their maintenance by myself & others. outraging no deeprooted sentiments — utilitarianism deliberately parts company . for others. can very well understand what is personal utility. I can understand. sensations and a pressing need for their gratification. some standard and principle of order.152 Isha Upanishad: Part Two law. emotional & intellectual gratification as I may out of life consistent with my own ease & safety. my life. by speculation or by the merciless methods of the American capitalist. if utility is to be my standard of ethics. But when you ask me in the name of utility & rationalism to sacrifice these things for some higher or wider utility. why should I refrain? The charge of anti-social conduct. and utilitarianism can give him no satisfactory answer. sensational. that is my ethics. for the greater number. with desires. my domestic peace. by gambling. thinks it has found it in utility. thoughts.

THE GURU My son. It is useless to tell these people that they will find a deeper & truer bliss in good moral conduct and altruism than in their present selfish and anti-social career. he must cease to be sensational. THE STUDENT But Lecky has proved that the moral improvement of Europe was due entirely to the rise of rationalism. If you choose to give an extension of meaning to a particular . not his own earning. is a piece of secondhand knowledge. there is one great capacity of the learned & cultured mind both in Europe & Asia which one should admire without imitating — it is the capacity of dextrous juggling with words. he must undergo a process of spiritual regeneration to which utilitarian philosophy cannot give him either the key or even the motiveimpulse. if the open worship of brutal force & unscrupulous strength which is rampant in politics & in commerce taint. may lead to an orgy of the vital & sensational impulses such as has not been since the worst days of the Roman Empire. if it increases. his deepest pleasure is necessarily vital and sensational. as it must eventually do. One trembles to think of the day when that coin shall be exhausted — already we see some signs of growing moral vulgarity. For in the mouth of the utilitarian. this statement of the deeper & truer bliss. but part of that store of ethical coin rifled by rationalism from the coffers of Christianity on which European civilisation is precariously living at the present day. which. the deeper heart of society. almost savagery in the European mind. it is only valid for the men who make the statement. Where is the proof or even the philosophic justification of what these philosophers allege? Their own experience? That is not valid for the average sensational man. coarseness. In order for it to be true of the sensational man.The Ishavasyopanishad 153 with sentiment and except force & fear it has no sanctions to replace those of religion & ancient prejudice which it has destroyed. they being the intellectual self with an ethical training that has survived from a dead Christianity.

but nevertheless true in the sphere of phenomena. that the moral improvement of Europe was due to increasing enlightenment is entirely true. often misapplied. you can easily build on it a very glittering edifice of theory. is the eternal enemy and slayer of sin. THE STUDENT Still it seems to me that Lecky is not altogether wrong. But in their isms and schisms trust not — they contain scant grain of truth hidden in a very bushelful of error. but always suggestively that Europe has made her real contribution to the eternal store of knowledge.154 Isha Upanishad: Part Two word. and the Law of Invariable Causality. for Knowledge. as rationalism. there are only two fundamental truths. the perception & realisation of truth. — Evolution. for sin is descended of ignorance through her child. THE GURU On the contrary he is entirely right. Europe had accepted Christ only to crucify him afresh. These receive & hold fast to. which will charm the eye until someone comes by with a more effective word more effectively extended in meaning and knocks down the old house to build a newer & more glittering mansion. by which I mean not the schoolmaster’s satchelful of information or even the learning of the Universities. which is taught in different ways by our Sankhya & Vedanta. she had entombed him alive with his pure & gracious teaching and over that living tomb she had built a thing called the Church. — if we consent to lump together all enlightenment without regard to its nature & source. What we know as Christendom was a . Thus the old eternal truths are overlaid by trashy superstructures until some day some salutary earthquake swallows up the building & builders & reveals the old truth which no change or chance can injure. which is implied in our theories of Kal & Karma. but Jnana. a meaning it cannot & ought not to have. — for it is by working them out not always well. egoism. Amid the giddy round of ever shifting theories Europe gives us. It is true that the so-called Christian ages in Europe were times of sin and darkness.

the spirit it professed but could not attain we know. and if something calling itself religion. the modern spirit overthrew the mediaeval Titan. the Buddhistic spirit of mercy. the democratic spiritual equality of Christianity applied to society. love. sattwa & tamas. Again Asia came to the rescue of Europe and from the liberal civilisation of the Arabs. All knowledge was under taboo. you may be sure it is not religion but an impostor masquerading in her name. the aspiration to universal brotherhood. The motto of the Revolution we know. struggled up until the darkness was overpowered & wounded to death. in equality. Science was reborn into her mediaeval night. it cannot be tamasic. it can have no dealings with the enemies of the Devas. inwardly it was the ancient struggle between Deva and Asura. pity. but because there was natural & irreconcilable antipathy between the obscurantism of political ecclesiastics & resurgent knowledge. equality & fraternity. with which has been confounded the Christian religion which the Church professed with its lips & attempted to strangle with its hands. of which Europe knew nothing till Christianity breathed it forth over the Mediterranean and with greater purity over Ireland. Now Religion is sattwic with a natural impulse towards light. and the light of Science. Consider what were the ideas under which as under a banner. which is the peculiar and distinguishing idea of Christianity.The Ishavasyopanishad 155 strange mixture of Roman corruption. liberty. The intellectual history of Europe has outwardly been a struggle between Science & the Church. in humanity. fraternity. humanity. The great spiritual hoard he had opened to the West was kept locked up and unavailable except to individuals whose souls were too bright to be swallowed up in the general darkness. persecuted & tortured. mingled with the sense of the divinity in man. In liberty the union of the individual moral liberty of Christianity with the civic liberty of Greece. attempts to suppress light. the final uprush of those ideas we see in the French revolution. borrowed from India through the old Gnostics . not because there was any natural conflict between Religion & Science. German barbarism and fragments of ancient culture all bathed in the pale light that flowed upward from the enhaloed brows of the entombed and crucified Christ.

mostly the lower or merely logical half of the intellectual sheath attempting to establish itself as the Self. human affairs & spiritual development. it is indeed the intellectual sheath. not distorted by irruptions of the lower selves in the shape of interest. in the sphere therefore of the passionless observation. in attempting to range things above the material level under the law of the material self. vanity. passions. THE STUDENT But you have said that Evolution is an eternal truth. This is what we call Science and the scientific spirit. Rationalism is the spirit which subjects all beliefs & opinions to the test of logic from observed facts. Science is always tumbling into the pits of the lower selves. but whenever it tries to theorize from what it has observed about human nature. it has produced invaluable results. but found and adopted them. the paramount claim of the race upon the individual. many of which Scientific materialism has been obliged to borrow or tolerate. Follow them not there. none of which it has as yet availed entirely to root out. prejudices. these are the ideas which still profoundly influence Europe.156 Isha Upanishad: Part Two & Platonists. Wherever it has been able to work in the light of pure dry intellect. its theories then become so amazingly paradoxical. to float upon air. Still more is this the case when it deals with the higher things of the spirit in the same terms. which does replace the old religious sanctions. classification and correlation of facts we may follow Science without distrust or fear of stumbling. one stands astonished at the wilful blindness to facts to which prejudice & prepossession can lead the trained observers of facts. it is trying to walk upon water. THE GURU What race? The English or German or Russian or the great . Rationalism did not create these ideas. it is doing something essentially unscientific. On the basis of Evolution the scientists have discovered a moral sanction. there are the blind leading the blind who go round and round battering themselves like a blind bird at night against the same eternal walls and never seeing the window open to it for its escape.

All morality is shown to be a historical inevitable evolution. some particular kind of ant. The individual is ephemeral.000 miles ahead of every animal yet born upon earth. As I understand it. which it appears is to inherit the world. we must now add. the species endures. THE GURU And getting called atavistic and degenerate and other terrible names? Still I should like to be better satisfied as to the basis of this symmetrical and inevitable arrangement. your duty to society. You say the genus is eternal? But I believe this is not the teaching of Science. man is only an animal. should not suddenly for some inexplicable reason develop & shoot forward 100. say. & even tho’ science should hurl the most formidable polysyllables in its vocabulary at me. your duty to your country. for if I were convinced that I am an ephemeral animal. Or in some other way the human race will certainly be replaced. all fall into a beautifully ranged.The Ishavasyopanishad 157 Anglo-Saxon race. If this is so. God’s Englishmen and. and you have only to recognise it and farther that evolution by falling into its track instead of going backward on the track. care. I do not know that I should greatly . a particular sort of monkey which developed suddenly for some inexplicable reason & shot forward 10.000 miles ahead and make as short work of man as man made of the mammoth. the genus lasts almost for ever. On this basis your duty to yourself. and I think Messrs Rockefeller & Jay Gould & millions more were or are in hearty agreement with me. I should like to enjoy myself during my day like other ephemeral animals and cannot see why I should trouble myself about the eternal future. your duty to mankind. that a race has developed which . there is no reason why some other animal. orderly & symmetrical arrangement. Now what good is it to the mammoth whose bones science has recently disinterred. God’s Americans — or is it the whole white race? To whom must the individual bow his head as the head & front of Evolution? THE STUDENT I mean the whole human race.

THE GURU Truly? I do not think the present state of Europe favourable to that conception. THE STUDENT The individual may be immoral. it is a question of inevitable law. Why. And we find them stationary or absolutely retrograding in population. . we had thought that Science would make the cultured nations dominate & people the earth. Is that the inevitable moral advance or Red Indian savagery improved upon? We had thought that with increasing education & intellectuality must come increasing chastity or at least refinement. would that have seemed even to the most reasonable tusker a sufficient motive for his self-sacrifice? Where would his benefit in the affair come in? THE STUDENT It is not precisely a question of personal benefit. massacre. losing in the true imperial qualities.158 Isha Upanishad: Part Two can disinter him and dissertate in numerous polysyllables upon his remains? And if a scientific mammoth in his days had placed before him this prospect and bid him give up in the interest of the mammoth race. In a great American city the police sweeps the brothels and gathers in its net hundreds of educated. cultured. his unsocial & selfish ways. if my opposition to the inevitable brings me no harm. but rather content & prosperity in my day? After my death nothing can injure me. but morality progresses inevitably. You would be setting yourself against the inevitable law. THE GURU Verily? and what do I care. if I am but clay. We had thought that sacking of cities. torture & foul rape were blotted by civilisation from the methods of war. degenerating in nerve & hardiness. The enlightened peoples of Europe march into China and there takes place an orgy of filth & blood & cold delight in agony which all but the most loathsome savages would shrink from in disgust.

THE GURU And mark that these retrogressions are most inevitable when the world. therefore the Adyashakti. Engrossed . Therefore the promise of Srikrishna ever holds good. ever to raise her mighty head again to the stars? It is because she never lost hold of religion. Is that the inevitable moral advance. THE STUDENT There are these periods of retrogression. her name shall be cast out from the list of nations and her peoples become a memory and a legend upon the earth. India. Not immediately do they come. the eternal Force of the Self shall again strengthen & raise her. abandoning religion. beauty and culture there. it has built out of the Law of Causation a new and more inexorable fate than Greek or Hindu or Arab ever imagined. Modern Science has engaged itself deeply in two cardinal errors. plunges into philosophic materialism. and the Atmashakti. the nations seem perhaps to gain in strength & power. the mighty Chandi. while the spirit of the old religion still survives the death of its body. never gave up her faith in the spirit. What was the force that enabled India beaten down & trampled by mailed fist & iron hoof ever to survive immortally. but very soon the posthumous force is exhausted. All the old nations perished because in the pride of intellect they abandoned their dharma. Evolution advances in a curve. Times change and a new kind of outer power rules over India in place of the Asuras of the East. or rather the days of Messalina returned? These are not isolated phenomena but could be multiplied infinitely. ever to crush down the conqueror of the hour at last beneath her gigantic foot. ever descends when the people turn to her and tramples the Asura to pieces. China still live. But woe to India if she cast from her her eternal dharma. The fate of the old nations shall then overtake her. their religion. not in a straight line. Europe is following in the footsteps of ancient Rome.The Ishavasyopanishad 159 gracious & stately women who had carried their education. ever to resist. Let her keep true to her Self.

lust of power. it has created the law of causation and governs it. with no connection with others except such as may be created by physical contact and the communication of the senses. That Europe does not approach more swiftly to this condition is due to the obstinate refusal of Jnana. fate or force. in the self. it has made the laws of matter and it can override them. All bases of morality which do not go back to the original divine . all action and emotion are for the self. riches. But if Science teaches men to regard themselves as distinct and purely corporeal beings. And that spells in the end a colossal selfishness. Science has come to believe that the human will is a mere servant. will inevitably shape its action & thought in accordance passing over the more shadowy moral generalities of evolutionary theorists or play with them only as intellectual marbles. to perish and make an end. it borrows from Christianity. no force can stop it. Religion. and surely before long she shall come. true enlightenment. a mere creation of eternal inanimate forces. animal & transitory. The Will is mightier than any law. calling upon the Eternal Mother to come down and save. it is that action and emotion can be directed towards beings distinct from oneself. it is itself all the forces which seem to govern and bind it. comfort & dominion. if it chooses to go forward. The Will is eternal. back it will go and all the world reeling and shrieking with it into barbarism and chaos.160 Isha Upanishad: Part Two with this predestination. Science is mistaken & unless it widen its view it may easily be convinced of its mistake in a very ugly fashion before long. If man believes himself to be an animal he will act like an animal & exalt the animal impulse into his guide. an increasing sensuality. nay. It persists & takes a hundred forms to elude the pursuit of materialistic Science. maimed & wounded tho’ it be. a monstrous & egoistic brutality like that of a hundred-armed Titan wielding all the arms of the Gods in those hundred hands. it will not allow the human Will to believe that it is no more than nerve & flesh & body. There is no compulsion on the human will to evolve towards progression. if it chooses to regress. omnipotent. The other mistake Science has made. it is obvious that the human Will under the obsession of this belief.

k. fok ek(vmnp yt. creating all things by the appearance of motion. yE-mn svAEZ BtA yA(mvABE jAnt. the Thinker. with floods of more beautiful rainbow lustre. unbodied. ^ kEvmnFqF pErB. The verse begins by repeating a position already taken. “This is He that went round. } \ . . He from years sempiternal hath ordered perfectly all things. of the Lord surrounding all things as a robe surrounds its wearer. must be erroneous and fleeting. In the fourth verse He has been described only as the mighty Force which creates & surrounds all this universe. pure. \B smA<y. when all creatures have become our Self and our Self realises its own Unity. a phenomenon and not a reality of the Eternal. untouched by sin. { ^ t/ ko moh. to culminate at last in the pure white light of the supreme realisation. He is the Seer. s pygAQC mkAymvZm-nAEvr f mpApEv m. proceeds again to sum up and describe the Eternal under this new light.” In other words the whirl of motion which the manifested Eternal set at work created the worlds. . the brightness. without sinews. which is however an appearance. the Selfborn that pervadeth. -vy yATAtLyto_TA &ydDAQCA tF<y.The Ishavasyopanishad 161 and sempiternal nature of man. Not from the instincts & customs of the ape & savage did the glories of religion & virtue arise. unscarred. He is now to be described as the mighty Unity which in its unmanifestation is the source of all existence and in its manifestation governs these innumerable worlds. he poured forth from himself as Prajna the Eternal Wisdom and entered & encompassed each thing as he created it. — they are the perennial light of the concealed godhead revealing themselves ever with clearer lines. But who is this He? In answering this question the Sruti immediately reverts . The Upanishad having posited this Unity which is at once the justification of all religion & morality and the culmination in which religion & morality disappear into something higher than either. This is He that went round..

who is neither lord nor subject. He is Virat who comes forth by His own strength from Hiranyagarbha & is Hiranyagarbha. but He is that side of Mind also. the luminous shadow of the Unknowable of which we can only speak in negatives. What is evil or Sin? It is merely the preference of the more gross to the more subtle. from whose essential mass of equipoised consciousness all existence and its laws draw their perennial strength and being and flow forth to their works. It is mind that creates impurity & evil. Why then is the Lord spoken of. He has no scars or imperfections. He is the Self born out of the Self by the Self. by desire which produces duality. in the masculine gender? Because he is now considered in His . for He is Prajna who came forth by His own strength from the luminous Parabrahman & is Parabrahman. and He is also that which flows forth. He has no sinews or muscles. He is Hiranyagarbha who comes forth by His own strength from Prajna & is Prajna. but by the mere flowing forth of his Shakti or Will. Prajna. but is one faultless & perfect light. the Wise One. He is the Thinker. he is the Seer & Poet. In other words all these are merely names of the One Spirit in different aspects or states of universal & infinite consciousness. for He is pure and untouched by evil. it operates therefore in the sphere of the gunas and the Eternal being above the gunas cannot be touched by Sin. In all these capacities He is selfborn. with the pure luminous Parabrahman. He the Creator of the Worlds is in reality That Brightness. ie He is that side of matter and creation is produced from him not by physical means or physical strength & skill. That has not a body or form. because it has to go back to the luminous Parabrahman who is beyond the idea of sex or characteristic. but the Eternal is not subject to desire. unlike Parabrahman. Having established the identity of the Lord who creates & rules. the pervading spirit which enters into all things and encompasses. who by his illumined inspirations creates as Hiranyagarbha the whole world in His own infinite Mind. Virat. the Sruti describes the Lord in his capacity of the All-wise Governor. form being created by Him and therefore this side of Him.162 Isha Upanishad: Part Two to the neuter gender. Finally He is not only that side of Matter. of tamas to rajas and of rajas to sattwa.

then division has taken place. that the animal acts with infallible instinct towards his dominant needs. it is only the point of view that makes the difference. substratum & container of things He is the Trinity. it is no deliberate invention. be it noted. Brahma-Vishnu-Maheshwara. Spirit & Matter. the Thinker. creations. An b . or of attraction and repulsion. the Shakti has gone forth to its works. actions & nature. adjustments & alterations. it is an eternal presence & the very nature of the world. that the star moves in its course & the mountain holds to its base. This Wisdom. Paramatman as SatBrahma-Hiranyagarbha has this divine quality of poethood. or of evolution. the great seer & poet in the true sense of the word poet. But when we see Him as the Ruler & Ordainer. the kavi is he who divines things luminously & distinctly by sheer intuition and whose divinations become. no thing of afterthoughts. This power of divine instinctive thought is \ } . As the source. He is therefore best spoken of in the neuter. Both these Trinities are in reality one Trinity. but unchangeable & the essential basis of existence from the beginning. From this standpoint the Sruti goes on then to describe the Lord. He is kavi. is the very nature of things. with stability & equipoise as its characteristic. It is the thought of the Lord that is the basis or substratum of all this creation. preserving & destroying the countless worlds and the innumerable myriads of their inhabiting forms. in whom the Male & Female. the Manifested Brahman dealing with a world of phenomena already created. All the creations of the great Kavi would be inconstant in their relations and clash & collide till they destroyed each other if there were not this imperative Wisdom. underlying all things & keeping them to their places. Prajna-HiranyagarbhaVirat. that the tree grows unerringly.The Ishavasyopanishad 163 capacity as the great ruler & ordainer. Whatever form it take. by their own overflow. and the great male Trinity. filled with the force of that Shakti are creating. — which men call the power of creation and it is therefore that his Shakti is described as Saraswati. it is therefore that the inanimate object forms faultlessly. Then the Lord is described as manishi. of gravitation. the Soul & its Shakti are still one & undivided. not in His capacity as the source from which all things flow.

source. all this pulsating world of phenomena would be stilled & resolve by inaction into the womb of undetermined condensed existence. if it were not that the bliss of existence [is] poured through all created things like a stream of heavenly nectar & makes life. The Poet. then to live in God.164 Isha Upanishad: Part Two one capacity of Paramatman as Chit-Mahadev-Prajna (Tamas. the Thinker. which because like all Europeans. by ogre & giant. then to live in mankind. though you cry out to the Heavens for help in your misery. law & culmination. Bhavani Mahishamardini. their first imperative need. He who exists all round. All things are supported & eternalized by this Bliss. then to live in the Universe. For the works of the Poet even though upheld by the Thinker. Art thou oppressed. then to live in the race or nation. he could see Truth only in one of her limbs and not as a divine whole. O man. then to live in the tribe or clan. Sthanu). By his very existence in all beings the Lord preserves & saves. gives us its reason. This is that Will to Live of the German philosopher. being. it is nothing outside you that comes to save. but it is only the Para Vidya that bases it for us. Then again He is paribhu. but He within you alone can protect. for it is the unchanging & eternal Paramatman. Manifesting as the will to live finitely. His other capacity is that of destruction. the one Eternal. Remember that. This Bliss is the capacity of Vishnu-Virat who is Ananda. for He is the Spirit of immobility to whom the deep sleep of perfect unconditioned thought is the culmination (Chit) and if it were not for the activity of the Kavi in the Eternal. Science the Apara Vidya traces for us the course & byelaws of evolution. could not last. gave so pessimistic a note to his thought. if the Thinker in Him were to blot out the Poet. This is the law & the gospel. in yourself and She will externalize armed with sword & trident to crush the triumphing Asura. by fiend & foeman? Seek His mighty Shakti. this is the natural evolution of humanity & its course is determined by the very nature of the Self. then to live in the family. the Pervading . it must be broadened into the will to live infinitely in order to fulfil itself & recover its own deepest & essential nature. We will first to live as individuals. the great pervading Bliss of existence (Ananda). it is not the blue sky that hears.

rejoicing in her favour or weeping at her ˆ feet in her anger. and now Radha the yellow cloth & fragrant garlands of the green wood and the brilliant feather of the peacock. yea. The play of the Soul with the Maya is the play of the lover & his beloved. all this wonderful Kingdom of a single Law in its manifold aspects He has ordered. For verily Man is God and as by his own Will he has cast himself into the illusory bonds of the Enchantress. All this mighty universe where various things acting according to their various natures harmonise & melt into a perfect unity. but the soul of Man can rise above Maya and her works & stand over her & free from her watching her as her master for whose joy she labours unto all eternity. yATAtLyt. and now Krishna wears the blue dress & shining jewels. & there is no other. these three are the Swayambhu.. Try to realise it. and now resuming his rightful role of lord & master. working in its own orbit & according to its own overmastering & inexorable nature. you are obeying a Law which has existed during the whole of eternity.The Ishavasyopanishad 165 Presence. but was. so by His own will He can shake off the bonds & rule her. for He . This is He who has ordered from eternal years perfectly all things. its law. The Gods are not different from each other. The Law did not spring into being. before Time was. and feel yourself in the presence of the One unchangeable & eternal God. turning away from her at will to a fairer & more wonderful face. for they are all one God. and harmony with its nature is its perfection. its end. for the nature of a thing is its origin. but the law of their nature is of eternal origin. he has set each thing in its own place. The forms of objects. he has arranged ^ diversely. In the act you do today. Maya & her works have no ending. not at a particular date & season. &ydDAt. and you will see Time & Space vanishing into Infinity. vary in Time. you will hear the boom of the eternal waters & the great voice crying for ever on the waters “Tapas. but eternally. because they had no beginning. the eternal Selfborn who is born by HimSelf out of HimSelf into HimSelf. All this He has done from years eternal. tapas”. it is true. one feigning to be the slave of the other. is & for ever shall be. its destiny. not in time. each duly as it should be & must be because of its own nature.

it cannot therefore be eternal. But if Vidya alone be eternal. unreality and is slain by knowledge. not openly declared by explicit statement or grammatical construction. the illusion . and She is He. what have we to do with it. but the connection is usually beneath the surface. but the Conditioned Brahman obviously rests on the Unconditioned and cannot be except in Him. THE STUDENT The followers of Adwaita will call this rank heresy. As are the reverse & obverse of a coin. the Charvak & the Sunyavadin. for in real truth they have been and are one to all Eternity. they are only playing at difference. THE GURU The utterances of the Upanishad are never disconnected. but the Vedanta gives its sanction to neither. and the aspirant to Knowledge must know both and not one only or he will know but little indeed of the true nature of the Eternal. Maya is illusion. then is Avidya a curse and a bondage. but shake it off with disgust as soon as possible? These are the extremes of the Materialist and Nihilist. Maya therefore is eternal. but of the Conditioned also we cannot say that He is not and the Conditioned Brahman is what we call Maya. let us rejoice in her wonders & glories & never strive to escape from her bonds. Avidya is eternal.166 Isha Upanishad: Part Two is She. The question will at once be put. so are the Conditioned and Unconditioned. you can only slay Moha. what then of Vidya & Avidya? the Eternal and the Transient? the Is & the Seems to Be? If Avidya is eternal. The Unconditioned Brahman is. Brahman is eternal & Maya therefore is eternal. The Upanishad has said that the Eternal has arranged all objects of the Universe perfectly from years eternal. THE STUDENT Here then the first part of the Upanishad seems to be ended and some very obscure & disconnected utterances follow. THE GURU You cannot slay Maya.

Unknowable Brahman. He is able to exercise Vidya & Avidya at the same moment. He is like a great poet who shadows forth a world of his own creation made in himself and of himself and yet knows that He is different from it & independent of it. This indeed is the only description that the finite mind can make of this mysterious Shakti of the Illimitable. obviously Avidya would cease the moment Vidya began and the salvation of one Jivatma would bring about the end of the world for all. If this were not so. The power of Shakti of Brahman is twofold & simultaneous. for he does not assert that Maya is unreal. If Parabrahman therefore were limited either to Vidya or Avidya. from of old & for ever. . her you can only conquer and put her under your feet. Nor does Shankara really say anything different. that is the symbol of the Yogi and the wonderful twofold Maya of the Eternal. made her living body his asan of meditation. and at the very same time He realises this wonderful universe of His imagination. he says it is a mysterious something of which you cannot say that it is and yet you cannot say that it is not. he eternally realises His own transcendental nature. Maya in its forms may be unreal & transitory but Maya in its essence as a Shakti of the Eternal. then the whole of phenomena would cease the moment a man becomes a Buddha and enters into Nirvana. for He & the Eternal are One. You remember that Shankara after conquering Ubhayabharati. But this is not so. but it is still upon her that his asan is based even when he is unconscious of Her and in union with the Eternal. must itself be eternal. Unconditioned. just as the Christians say that the crucifixion of Christ saved the world. It is for this reason only that the salvation of a particular Jivatman does not bring the world to an end. He has conquered her & put her beneath him.The Ishavasyopanishad 167 of Maya.


The Karmayogin A Commentary on the Isha Upanishad .

The table on the opposite page shows the structure as marked by Sri Aurobindo in the manuscript and printed in the text and.NOTE Sri Aurobindo modified the structure of The Karmayogin: A Commentary on the Isha Upanishad while he was working on it. Later he introduced a superior division. He began with a two-tier division: “Chapters” and sections. became known as “Books”. how it would be if the final three-tier division were applied consistently throughout. In the right margin are indicated the places where the discussions of the first six verses begin. The intermediate divisions. The numbering of these divisions is neither consistent nor complete. and began calling the lowest-level divisions “Chapters”. the “Part”. italicised and within square brackets. . earlier called “Chapters”. The other twelve verses were not discussed.

[No title] [Start verse 6] [Chapter] II. The Philosophical Justification of Altruism [Chapter] VII. [No title] Chapter I. Social Evolution. Spiritual Evolution in Brahman Chapter III. the Lord. Psychical Evolution — Upward to Self. Vairagya. [No title] [Chapter] XII. [Chapter] III. [No title] [Start verse 5] Book [IV ] III. One Road and not Three. Selflessness. [No Chapters V or VI ] [Chapter] VII. Retrospect Part II Karmayoga. [No title] [Chapter] XI.[Part I] [No title] [Book I ] Chapter I. [Chapter] VI. Elemental Evolution. [Chapter] IX. God in Man and in all Creatures [Chapter] V. [Chapter] IV. [Start verse 4] Chapter II. Suicide and the other World. Psychical evolution — downward to matter Chapter IV. . The denial of salvation by works [Chapter] V. Isha and His Universe. Chapter IV. Isha. Brahman. The Law of Renunciation. God All and God Everywhere [Start verse 1] [Chapter] II. [Start verse 3] [Chapter] VII. Spirit and Matter [Chapter] X. The Meaning of Renunciation [Book II ] Chapter II. Eternal Truth the Basis of Ethics / I / The Root of Ethical Ideals Chapter I. Matariswan and the Waters. [Chapter] VIII. Salvation through Works [Chapter] I [No title] [Start verse 2] [Chapter] II. [Chapter] IV. The Eternal in His Universe I. [Chapter] III. The place of Religion in ethics. Mukti and the Jivanmukta. Chapter III. [Chapter] I. Ethics in primitive society. the Ideal [Book III ] Chapter IV. the Basic Rule of Karma-Yoga [Chapter] VI.


I do. whatever I hear. Atman. This is the first thing the Karmayogin has to realise and until he has set his mind on the realisation. This voice that I am uttering. whatever we see. even all that is world in this moving universe.Chapter I. hear or are in any way sensible of. Isha. God All and God Everywhere GURU Salutation to the Eternal who is without place. I am seeing God. who is the Self in all creatures. I must realise that it is a manifestation in the Supreme who is the only reality. it is the Energy of God which is governing my actions. articulation and meaning. we must feel the presence of the Lord surrounding it. The Law of Renunciation. vibrates in the atmosphere of the Divine Reality. Whatever I see. vAsdv. only because it vibrates there. svEmEt.” The Upanishad first sets forth the universality of the Supreme Being. bark. exist only in . I am hearing God. Karmayoga is impossible. is it capable of sound. abandon the world that thou mayest enjoy it. No action I do or watch others do. sap and roots encased in earth and air. the Lord surrounds everything with His presence. This tree that I am sitting under. Bliss. time. otherwise it could not be done. whatever I do. Consciousness. pith. — “With the Lord all this must be clothed (as with a garment). I do it in the Lord. this subjective I who act. cause or limit. The Upanishad begins. under whatever aspect He manifests Himself or manifests not. Brahman. The Lord is everywhere. This Karma that . salutation. to Him the One and Only Existence. Salutation to Him who rules the Universe. I. neither covet any man’s possessions. the Master of manifold life. Salutation to the Self in me. the Lord is all. but the Lord is there surrounding and upholding it. the Lord of the Illusion. I must not consider as only so many leaves.

and where the three meet & become one. for it leads straight to the knowledge of Brahman and the ecstasy of union with Him. think. — this is Vedanta. To clothe all things with the Supreme. He is the true & only I. it to whom the action is done. do. and without such escape Karmayoga cannot really begin. Karma. feel or are sensible of. It is the omnipresent universality of the Supreme. When the Yogin has had spiritual experience of this universality. creatures. Knowledge. changes & evolutions as so many transitory phenomena enveloped with the presence of the Supreme Being and existing in Him and by Him only. the beginning of Karma.174 Isha Upanishad: Part Two the Lord. Jnana. this objective he. not till then can he escape from apparent self to true Self. \ II. then only is he fit for Karmayoga. that has first to be realized. The transformation of this experience into the habitual condition of the soul. — Action. for He is my real self and what I call I is only so much covering and semblance. causes. Bhakti. the Lord. Isha. exists only in the Lord. to be conscious of Him in all you say. she. the first feeling of this truth is the beginning of Jnana. Love. The Isha Upanishad is the Scripture of the Karmayogin. of the three paths it teaches the way of Action. Let us now look closely into the language of the Scripture. for in the Upanishad every word is of infinite importance and is chosen in preference to others for some profound and significant reason. it is with the Lord that . is the consummation of Karmayoga. that highest home of Vishnu towards which it is the one object of the Upanishad to turn and guide us. the beginning of Bhakti. Not I but He. and therefore begins with this first indispensable condition of all Godward action. are the three paths which lead out of phenomenal existence to the eternal reality. so_h. Karma melting into and becoming one with Jnana and Bhakti. to see all things. ˆ Isha is the first word of the Upanishad. — this experience is the beginning of Karmayoga. for not till then can he sink the constant feeling of I and thou and he in a single higher and wider Existence. effects. is the end of the great journey.

Bliss with whom the Jnanayogin seeks to unite himself in Samadhi. He can also imagine . of semblance. The Karmamargin aims at living disillusionized. because It is Parabrahman. Parabrahman. the power to know and the power not to know. that absolute self-centred Existence. the absolute. transcendental and beyond realization by senses. Consciousness. He can be experienced. That which is above reason in man can reach Parabrahman and experience Parabrahman. Since he works through actions. Parabrahman can know Himself as He really is. it is the Lord whose presence. transcendental. Maheshwara. feel. it is not even Sacchidananda. eternal reality is unknowable to human reason. really. it is the Eternal in His aspect as Ruler of the Universe. but yet using the illusions of Maya as the materials of his Yoga. energy we must realize in whatever we see. do or think. He cannot be explained or understood. this is Vidya. mind or speech. the distinction is one of appearance. will. the Lord of the Illusion. but this is in the state of Samadhi and from the state of Samadhi the human understanding can bring back no record intelligible to the reason or explicable in terms of speech. These two aspects correspond to the two powers inherent in Parabrahman as the Knower of Himself. he seeks to free himself from phenomena while yet living among phenomena. the Master of multiple phenomenal life whom he must seek and in whom he must lose his lower self. it is the Master of actions whom he must worship with the flowers and incense of a selfless life. the powers of Vidya and Avidya. unknowable Parabrahman. Still Parabrahman presents to the understanding two semblances or aspects by which He can be relatively though not absolutely known. it is therefore Isha. Is there then a difference between Parabrahman and Isha? Are there two Supreme Beings and not one? No difference. He who keeps the wheel of phenomena turning and guides its motions as the mechanician controls his machine. It is in other words the Supreme Being not in His aspect as the actionless. the faculty of Knowledge and the faculty of Illusion. Parabrahman in His Essence is therefore realizable but not intelligible.The Karmayogin 175 we must clothe all things in this Universe.

Desdemona. As Isha the Karmayogin may worship Him in various sub-aspects. because there is nothing outside or other than Him to give Him external bliss. phenomenal aspect as Isha. Consciousness and Bliss. this is Avidya. Othello. Then He is a great Will. He exists to Himself alone. because there is no other existence but Himself. the Lord or Ruler. Lord of Sleep-Life. But there is one Shakespeare and not two. Shakespeare pouring himself out in a hundred names and forms. Iago. it must necessarily be not in His unconditioned. Hiranyagarbha. Prajna. Now the Karmamargin has to deal with this great multifold phenomenal universe and when he seeks to feel the presence of the Eternal round every single thing it contains. Purusha. Viola. Hamlet. Lear. He is the bliss of His own self-conscious existence. absolute Existence. the great male ocean of spiritual force which sets Prakriti to produce and watches her workings. and Prakriti. Rosalind. the mighty female energy which produces and works unweariedly for the pleasure of Purusha.176 Isha Upanishad: Part Two Himself as He is not. He is the triple Being. Hiranyagarbha. that is His aspect to Vidya or true Knowledge. the intelligent force which lives and wakes in what would otherwise seem inert and inanimate existence or the mere blind play of mechanical forces. Cymbeline is using his power of Avidya to become the lord and ruler of a wonderful imaginary world. He is then Isha. To use a human parallel. That is the eternal reality. Virat. Shakti or Force pouring itself out in a million forms and names and keeping for ever in motion the eternal wheel of phenomenal Evolution. Shakespeare putting aside his works and returning to his own single & sufficient existence is using his power of Vidya to recover his own constant single reality. He is conscious of His own existence only. the Lord of Dream-Life who takes from this ocean of subconsciously intelligent spiritual being those conscious psychic forces which . unphenomenal aspect of Sacchidananda but in His conditioned. Isha is a double being as Purusha-Prakriti. Lord of the Universe. because there is no other existence to be conscious of. But there is also the eternal unreality. which He guides and governs. Prajna. Macbeth. In the first aspect He is Sacchidananda. His aspect to Avidya or False Knowledge.

to the Bhakta He appears in whatever form appeals most to the spiritual emotions of His devotee. His Will to live and create has expressed itself in its highest. and Virat. Brahma. Srikrishna. the destroyer.The Karmayogin 177 He materializes or encases in various forms of gross living matter. God-in-man. Even the atheist. Brahma. It is of no importance that the Karmayogin should recognize a particular name or form as the greater Self to win whom he must lose his . Rama. if he recognizes a mighty Power at work in all life and existence and yields up his self and actions to the will and ends of that Power. the Preserver & Saviour. the Creator. the Christian as God. the Almighty Lord. preserves and maintains the sensible creation which Hiranyagarbha has shaped. Buddha. the Master of Power & Love and Life and Light and Sweetness. that the Karmayogin may well direct his worship. Or he may worship Isha in His Shakti. With all these aspects of Isha. The Jnanayogin loves to worship Him as Shiva. If he is able to dispense with forms. the Master of Samadhi. the Master of utter Samadhi. or if he recognizes in men the godhead he refuses to recognize in the Universe and devotes himself to the selfless service of his kind. Shiva. Vishnu. he may worship the idea of Isha Himself. Lord of Waking-Life. the Mahomedan as Allah. a selfless hero and creator in the world. has set his foot on the path of Karmayoga and cannot fail to reach the Lord whom he denies. Hindu worship has associated names & forms and in these names and forms He shows Himself to His worshippers. purest and most inspiring and energetic virility. He is triple again as Shiva. the most powerful realisation of His cosmic energy which the human mind has yet envisaged. whom the Hindu adores as Hari. Vishnu. the Refuge of the outcast & of those who have no refuge. who puts forth life and stays not his hand for a moment. for Karma is merely Shakti in motion and the Karmayogin must be a pure conductor of divine energy. the Yogin. has given us the highest types of this selfless divine energy and it is therefore to these mighty spirits. the Lord. the Lord of brute or inert life. Isha Himself in His Avatars. But the Karmayogin should devote himself to those forms of the Supreme Lord in which His mighty Shakti. who governs. in the form of Durga-Kali.

All this Universe must \ be clothed with Isha. we must draw the feeling of His presence round every object in the Universe and envelop it with Isha. and in one sense He is His Universe and His Universe is He. n (vh tq t mEy. woven by him out of his own store of psychic material. stone or idol is merely a manifestation or seeming receptacle. This tree is evolved out of original ether. say. “I am not in them. We must avoid the materialistic Pantheism which identifies the visible Universe with the Supreme Being. and of which the tree. and yet it would be obviously a mistake to identify. it is Isha. Whatever name he gives to this Power or whether he gives it a name or not. just as Shakespeare’s creations are really Shakespeare himself. but it is of importance & essential that he should recognize the existence of a Power inside and outside himself to the law of whose Will and Workings he can sacrifice the self-will and self-worship of the natural man. the Lord. we find it is evolved out of the existence of the Lord who pervades it and surrounds it with His presence. Next let us take note of the word vA-y. it is in the Lord.178 Isha Upanishad: Part Two smaller self. but the tree cannot be described as ether. the tree as tree or the stone as stone or the idol as a material thing. always stumbling into a blunder . III. Iago with Shakespeare. This tree is not the Lord. but the tree is not the Lord. We find European scholars when they are confronted with the metaphors of the Sruti. but really it is the creature who is in God. The Hindu is no idolater. Isha and His Universe.” . going deeper down. nor ether as the tree. whose presence he must feel around every object and movement in the Universe. as a robe is drawn round and envelops the wearer. ether pervades it and surrounds it. nor the Lord the tree. We say for the convenience of language and mental realization that God is \ in His creature. For the Lord is greater than His universe. they are in Me. he does not worship stocks or stones. stone or idol. It is true that He is both the final and material Cause of the universe. but he worships the presence of the Lord which fills & surrounds the tree. so.

is to be thought of as surrounded by the presence of the Lord. we do \ not say. hard. All this. svEmd. “These are the guesses. must be thought of as surrounding each object and not confined to the limits of the object. The tree exists only in Him & by Him. clothe. insists on fixing the metaphor to its literal sense and having thus done violence to the spirit of the Upanishad. logical and inflexible. The presence of the Lord who is infinite. clA pLvF E-TrA BAEt. she that moves. you are intended to take their spirit and not insist on the letter. all in fact that we call the Universe. they triumphantly point to the resultant incoherence and inconsistency of our revealed writings and cry out. everything and anything that is ^ moving thing in Her who moves. But the garment is \ different from the wearer. When we see the tree.The Karmayogin 179 which we must carefully avoid if we wish to understand our Scriptures. But to avoid misunderstanding the Upanishad goes on to point out that it is not only the Universe as a whole. as with a garment. but each thing that is in the Universe which we must feel to be encompassed with the divine \c \ Presence. in the ancient Sanscrit. all this that is present to \ our senses. even as the ether is. & limited in the space it occupies: is the Lord then different from His creation and limited in His being? That would be the letter. sometimes sublime.1 that part of the cosmos with which we human beings are mainly concerned and the neuter jagat. moves. yE(k jg(yA jgt. was a word applied to the whole Universe. Their reason. He is in it and around it. says the Sruti. came to be the ordinary expression for world or universe. afterwards it meant rather this moving earth. “This is the Lord”. not supports on which you are to hang your whole weight. but we say “Here is the Lord”. Here is a metaphor vA-y. “The earth . generally infantile. — this and no more is the force of vA-y. of humanity in its childhood. but seems to be still”. But why is the universe called 1 The ancient Rishis knew that the earth moves. Jagati. that which moves. the spirit is different.” But the metaphors of the Sruti are merely helps to a clearer understanding. They are conveniences for the hand in climbing.

In other words what is real. audible or in some way sensible result of motion. and if we wish to be in touch with reality. but our senses are in error and the Upanishad warns us against their false evidence. even the stone. But when the Karmayogin has seen the Lord surrounding all things with His presence and all things existing only as transitory manifestations. eternal. real and steadfast. . Thus placed in constant touch with reality. For it is only by understanding practically the reality of a thing and its law of working that one can become its master and make use of it for his own purposes. a world of infinite motion. will not master him and drive him as a storm drives a ship. for by motion she creates this material world. we must train our souls to become aware of His presence sustaining. God in Man and in all Creatures. jagat. in His depths. energy at work. the great female material energy of the Lord. The material world is a transitory and changing whirl of motion on the surface of Brahman. and the essence of Prakriti is motion. IV. the visible form of Prakriti. but he will rather be the master of action. rule and abidingness to the infinite motion we call the Universe. the great ocean of spiritual existence. are merely images or manifestations in the same divine Reality.180 Isha Upanishad: Part Two “she that moves”? Because it is the result of the working of Prakriti. idols or images in this divine Reality. both his own and that of others. who alone is. Indeed all object matter is only a form. pervading and surrounding this moving Prakriti and every objective form to which her varying rates of vibration have given rise. the Karmayogin will escape from the false shows and illusions of Prakriti. living. so also all creatures. Our senses tell us that the material world is the only reality. the only steadfast thing of whose rule and order we can be sure and by which we can abide. It is He who as the Lord gives order. what follows? It follows that just as this tree or that mountain exists only as an image or manifestation in the divine Reality. even the clod. Karma or action which also is merely her motion. Every material object is what it is here called. men included. that is to say a visible.

creating endless multiplicity and governing. it is Brahman or the Lord within each of his creatures. This divisibility of the Indivisible is one of those profound paradoxes of Vedantic thought which increasing Knowledge will show to be deep and far-reaching truths. it is the great pure luminous existence. something which is alone real. nor our reason and understanding. reason or understanding which constitutes the presence of the Lord within us. they differ even from themselves according to time and circumstances. only the Will or Shakti manifests in different degrees. nor our vitality & its desires. joy & sorrow. is not our body. neither desires. The Self is in the microcosm what Sacchidananda is in the macrocosm. but the Lord is one and unchanging. mind. but unaffected and unbound by his works. It used to be implicitly . This Will. must not be confused with mere volition or desire. This Self is in me.The Karmayogin 181 eternal in you and me. but just the divine presence which pervades me and you as much as it pervades the tree and the mountain. for my body differs from yours. There must therefore be something deeper hidden within us than any of these things. so by the same power this Self or Witness in Man takes the semblance of a sublime Will creating for itself action and inaction. And it is not the body. for volition belongs to the outer & apparent man and not to the inner and real. but watches the infinite play of Prakriti in the life of the creature It informs. guiding. living and eternal. it is also in you and every other being and in all it is the same Self. This something is called in the Vedanta the Self. vitality. my mind differs from yours. with a different intensity and manner of working and so with different qualities & actions in each separate creature. my reason and understanding differ from yours. which the Vedanta calls Ananda or Bliss and not will. selfconscious and self-blissful. my vitality differs from yours. Isha. victory & defeat. pleasure & pain. governing & rejoicing in the activity of the apparent creature it informs. nor our mind. And just as by the power of Avidya Sacchidananda takes the semblance of a mighty Will or Force. Hence the appearance of diversity and divisibility in what is really One and indivisible. guiding and rejoicing in the interplay of worlds. which acts not.

Personality is the creation of memory. is simply the result of Avidya due to the action of the Maya or self-imposed illusion of Isha. If the pedestal. but the universe is in Him. be divided and put apart. The truth is that the waking personality is only the apparent man. false knowledge. In reality. But the waking memory is only a part. it is his soul. For it has been found that a single man can divide himself or be divided into several personalities. and its apparent divisions are merely the result of Avidya. This is true. one infinite and indivisible. for there is a deeper substratum in him which underlies all these divided personalities and is wider than all of them put together. there is no division and the Self in me is the same as the Self in you and the same as the Self up yonder in the Sun. The personality which corresponds with this latent unerring memory is the true personality of the man. When the Sruti says elsewhere that the Purusha lies hidden in the heart of our being and is no larger than the size of a man’s thumb. the superstructure also must be in the same act divided and put apart. then. for memory is its basis and pedestal. a selection of a wider latent memory which has faithfully recorded all that happens not in the man’s present life only. while yet again another personality may emerge in him which is conscious of the others and yet separate from all of them. The unity of spiritual existence is the basis of all true religion and true morality. of the indivisible Paramatman into many Jivatmans. We know indeed that as God is not contained in His universe. So the apparent division of the divine Self into many human selves. it simply means that to the mind of man under the dominion of Avidya . the man all through remains one and the same. not only in body but in his psychical existence.182 Isha Upanishad: Part Two believed that human personality was a single and indivisible thing. homogeneous and indivisible consciousness. nevertheless. each living its own life and unconscious of the other. due to defective action of the waking memory. so also God is not contained within a man. yet recently a school of psychologists has grown up who consider man as a bundle of various personalities rather than a single. not the real. the great Force who has willed that the One by this force of Maya should become phenomenally manifold. but in all his past.

yet I find that I have little enough to enjoy while my neighbour Harischandra has untold wealth. must first abandon it. it is body. the Spirit seems a small and indistinguishable thing indeed inside so many and bulky sheaths and coverings. He who would enjoy the world. “Abandon the world that thou mayst enjoy it. mind. must first lose it. grandiose & mighty. is within all His creatures and He is the real self of all His creatures. how can I enjoy it? If I throw away the sovereign in my hand. At first the reason revolts against an assertion so self-contradictory. Selflessness. neither covet any man’s possession. vitality. am told to enjoy the world. This is the second truth proceeding logically from the first. If I put my food away from me. Devadatta. Thus from an intellectual paradox the Upanishad proceeds to a moral paradox. But in reality. for that is how it naturally presents itself to us who use the mental standpoint and the language of a finite intelligence. the body is in the soul. The Lord. and yet both are profound and accurate statements of fact. but by keeping fast hold on it and adding to . on which the Karmayogin has to lay fast hold. vitality. yes. the Upanishad deduces a principle of action which holds good for all Karmayogins.The Karmayogin 183 his body. The apparent man exists in & by the real. My self and yourself are not really two but one. all that is in the world. reason bulk so largely. the Basic Rule of Karma-Yoga From the fundamental truth of one divine Reality pervading and surrounding all phenomenal objects and from its implied corollary.” He that would save his soul. If I am to enjoy the world. mind & reason forming the apparent man that are small and trifling and it is the Spirit or real man that is large. another may have the joy of it but how can I? I. V. from our standpoint. not the real in the apparent. the identity of my Self with your Self. how shall I proceed to my object? Not surely by abandoning the little I have. not the soul in the body. Yet for the convenience of language and our finite understanding we are compelled to say that the soul is in the body and that God is within the man.

But how can we possess Brahman? By surrounding all things in the world with Him. Brahman then is the only wealth the Karmayogin will covet. all things are enjoyment. by realizing Him in all things. and to him who has experience of it. houses. mine. that there is nothing in this world real. I have not yet acquired the habitual consciousness of the presence of the Lord surrounding all things as the only reality for whose sake alone transitory phenomena are precious or desirable.184 Isha Upanishad: Part Two it the much that Harischandra has. Devadatta. That is the fulfilment of his discipline for the Karmayogin. possess the Lord of the Universe and am the master & enjoyer of the whole world. but if I am poor. That is one way in which I can enjoy the world by abandoning it. but the enjoyment of one’s identity with Brahman and the possession of Brahman are pure and undisturbed bliss. Self-gratification and the possession of wealth and its enjoyments are transitory. because of His presence I can enjoy my poverty as much as I did my wealth. but so would not argue the Karmayogin. The more I possess of Him. the world is the Lord. because he knows such terms as possession. He will covet no man’s possession. illusory and attended with inevitable trouble and pain. for the world is Brahman. but only the feeling of the presence of the Lord in all things. For it is not the wealth and the poverty which matter or are real. the Lord is there too in my poverty. the wider and nearer perfection will be my enjoyment. thine. all things are bliss. How in this imperfect stage of development can the Karmayogin escape from covetousness and the desire for other men’s possessions? By realising more & . So would argue the natural man. but am still climbing. estates. Government paper. desirable and worth calling by the name of bliss except Brahman. It is I who am rich and not Harischandra. If I am wealthy. the Lord is there in my wealth. the eternal reality of things. What ground then is there left for coveting another man’s possessions? Harischandra possesses merely so much gold. to be false and illusory in the light of the secret tremendous truth he has got hold of. but I. I have not yet ascended the ladder. in my cottage. But let us go down many steps lower. rationally enough from his point of view.

But let him once get the taste of his true food. The man who regards selflessness as a duty. the lion’s instincts awoke and the habits of the sheep had no more delight for him. and has to be evolved from inside. has not yet learned the alphabet of true altruism. it is the man who feels it as a delight and a natural craving. This is the way to his goal. who has taken the right way to learn. the selfful man. the habits of the animal can please him no longer and he hungers after selflessness and selfless work as a lion hungers after his natural food. The Hindu does not call the man who has risen above the gratification of desire a selfless man. but pleasurable. a painful duty. has been trained to be an animal. a law imposed from outside. but in the nature. something against which the whole man is disposed to rebel. something contrary to man’s nature. but the gratification of the body and the vital impulses has become his habit. not Hindu. it is. Unselfishness is usually imagined as the abnegation of self. He. Selflessness is his true nature. a standard of conduct and discipline. he calls him aA(mvAn. not painfully worked up to as a contravention of his nature. That is a Western attitude. his second or false nature. not tacked on from outside. That is not the right way to look at it. the European temperament is dominated by the body and the vital impulses.The Karmayogin 185 more the supreme bliss of a selfless habit of mind and selfless work. in this light. that man ^ ^ has not found himself who still clings to the gratification of his . has been brought up to think himself a sheep. The Hindu outlook here is the true outlook. not negative but positive. shrank from flesh when it was placed before him. So it is with man. something negative. irksome and arduous. that man is anA(mvAn. not painful. and the divinity in him awakes. a lion. because he has been accustomed to identify his body & vital impulses with himself. a “mortification”. it undertakes altruism as a duty. but once he had eaten of it. not a self-mortification and abnegation but a self-enlargement and self-fulfilment. Unselfishness is not something outside the nature. Only the feeling has to be evolved as a fulfilment of his nature. It is in the nature. he. a god. not a law of duty but a law of self-development. only latent. The lion’s whelp in the fable who was brought up among sheep. this is his ladder.

Thou too art He. is a common experience of humanity. I am He. But that is an error and thrice an error. Christ. Read that great drama of self-sacrifice. “It is only human nature. That this can be done. The Philosophical Justification of Altruism The philosophical justification for this outlook is provided for \ in the fundamental position of Vedanta. If therefore Harischandra enjoys untold riches. a passionate delight. tender.186 Isha Upanishad: Part Two body & vital impulses. to which the name of love is given. the Purusha or real Man within me. VI. Tom. I can take as much pleasure in the riches of Harischandra as if I myself were enjoying them. bitter. for I can thenceforth go out of my own self and so enter into the self of Harischandra. Human evolution rises through . but only He. Once I experience this truth. no Harischandra. the real Harischandra. Brahman. these are the perfect men. there self-sacrifice is not a painful and terrible struggle but a glorious outpouring of the nature. the Nagananda. It is not human nature. there is therefore no I and Thou. To do that I have simply to break down the illusory barrier of associations which confines my sense of self to my own body. that his pleasure becomes my own. pleasant. but my Self in the mental and bodily case called Devadatta and my Self in the mental and bodily case called Harischandra. so_h. beautiful. but because his humanity is as yet undeveloped & imperfect. for Harischandra is my Self. There is therefore really no Devadatta.” we say indulgently of any act of selfishness. terrible. Brahman. but my true self. Isha is the true self of my neighbour. Buddha. it is I who am enjoying them. grand. the real Devadatta. horrible and wholly wonderful and enjoyable drama of the world which Prakriti enacts for his delectation. and you will feel how different is the Hindu outlook from the Western. Isha is my true self. human nature is divine & selfless and the average selfish man is selfish not because of his humanity. who is the witness and enjoyer of all this sweet. — not my body in which I am imprisoned or my desires by which my body is made miserable. but animal nature. mind & vitality. Dick & Harry are merely animals slowly shaping into men.

The Karmayogin 187 love and towards love. but my wider truer self to my narrower false self. The one law of Christianity which replaces all the commandments is to love one’s neighbour as oneself. no impulse to love another as itself. The true aim and end of evolution is the wider and . because it cannot feel that the other is itself.). As I have risen from the animal to the man. A separate individual Self will live its own life. From material contact nothing but animal feelings of passion & hatred can arise. there can be no feeling of identity. depends on the realization of oneself in others. even when they cannot provide any philosophical justification for a tenet to which they nevertheless attach the highest importance. one in kind but not in essence. the moral ideal of Hinduism is the perfect sage whose delight and occupation is the good of all creatures (svBtEhtrt. It is right because by embracing in my range of feelings the enjoyment of Harischandra in addition to my own I shall make my knowledge of the universality of Brahman an experience. myself in Devadatta and Harischandra to myself in Devadatta alone. Altruism in the light of this one profound revealing truth becomes natural. if the real man in me is different and separate from the real man in another. for experience and not intellectual conception is true knowledge. It is natural because I am not really preferring another to myself. This truth is instinctively recognised by all the great religions. as Sankhya and Christian theology say. pursue its own gratification or its own salvation. The Vedanta provides in the realisation of a single Self and the illusory character of all division the only real explanation of this higher or spiritual love. It is inevitable because that is my way of evolution. it can have no ground. But love in the sense which religion attaches to the word. right and inevitable. and not merely an intellectual conception or assent. there can only be mental or material contact. but the basis of godhead is the realisation of oneself in all things. from mental contact repulsion is as likely to arise as attraction. so must I rise from the man to the God. there are millions of different Purushas. If. God who is in all to my single mind and body. the moral ideal of Buddhism is selfless benevolence & beneficence to others. It is always the same great ideal expressed with varying emphasis.

or as we call it in our philosophy the tamasic condition and rise to various human activity and energy. it is her joys far more than your own that make your happiness. their prosperity and radiant faces will give you a delight which you could never have found in your own small and bounded pleasures. purity of soul. that we give up our own petty personal joy and pleasure to bathe up to the eyes in the joy of others. if you are a true lover of your nation. ignorance. greed and beast violence. first. VII. we must leave it behind and climb up to the peak of all things where sits the bright and passionless Lord of all. On that breathless summit we shall experience the identity of our Self not only with the Self of others. truth. love for all creatures. lighting up with a single ray of His splendour a million universes. We leave behind. Even this divine height is not the highest. That was ever the privilege of the true lover. high selflessness. tranquillity. The abandonment of the world means nothing less than this. from that again we must rise to the sattwic condition of divine equipoise. if you are a true lover of your friends. Towards that goal we progress. In Brahman our evolution finds its vast end and repose. but. brutishness. clarity of mind.188 Isha Upanishad: Part Two wider realisation of the universal Brahman. but with the All-Self who is the Lord and who is Brahman. yet inevitably. as Alexander did. the rajasic condition. lust. He will lose himself in his own limited being. the joy. candour. If you are [a] true lover of a woman. wrath. with whatever tardiness. The Meaning of Renunciation The Karmayogin therefore will abandon the world that he may enjoy. the low animal stage of indolence. with whatever lapses. the united joys of a hundred must needs be greater. if you . that he may find himself illimitably in the being of others. pity. from the falsehood of matter to the truth of spirit. to possess it in his soul. and the joys of one man may be as great as you please. as Gods do. he will not seek. By renouncing enjoyment you can increase your enjoyment a hundredfold. to possess the whole world with a material lordship. glory and wealth of all its millions will be yours.

even defeat in such a cause is a stern pleasure that strengthens you for new and invincible endeavour. But is not the privilege of sharing the sorrows of those you love a more precious thing than your own happiness? Count too the other happinesses which that partnership in sorrow can bring to you.” Yes. not the avatar who dared to say “I and my Father are one”.” How many a patriot in his last moments has felt that this was no empty poetical moralising. And if you have not the power to relieve or the means to carry on the struggle. but a poor weak human being who under the illusion of Maya mistook his body for himself. Even the mere continuous patient resolute effort to do this is a joy unspeakable. — and Yoga always brings some power with it. but did Christ suffer or did he not rather feel the joy of godhead in his soul? The agony of Gethsemane was not the agony of the coming crucifixion. doubtless. “It is a sweet and noble thing to die for one’s country. there is still left you the joy of suffering or dying for others. not the Son of God. that he should die for his friend. the cup which he prayed might be taken from his lips. we should have to say that this Jesus was not the Christ.The Karmayogin 189 are a true lover of mankind. ^ The abandonment of the world which is demanded of the . “Greater love than this has no man. was not the cup of physical suffering. You will say that their sorrows too will be yours. If you have power. nAymA(mA blhFnn l<yo n c mAdA pso vA=yEl At. They say that Christ suffered on the cross! The body suffered. Others can only touch his shadow from afar. but the bitter cup of the sins of mankind which he had been sent to drink. If it were not so. but the feeble understatement of a wonderful and inexpressible reality. but that greatest love of all means also the greatest joy of all. Always remember that it is not the weak in spirit to whom the Eternal gives himself wholly. it is the strong heroic soul that reaches God. or the sufferings and degradation of the nation for which you sacrifice yourself or the woes of the humanity in whom you are trying to realize God. all the joys of the countless millions of the earth will flow like an ocean of nectar through your soul. — you may have the unsurpassable joy of solacing or turning into bliss the sorrow of your friend or lover.

His part in life is the part of the hero. that too is well. That enjoyment is clear. but to give them up in your heart. and having parted with them in spirit and given them into the treasury of God. the material enjoyment of the objects of desire cannot stain it. To purify the body is well. your wife. You are not asked to throw away the objects of your desire. but if the soul is pure. It is the desire you have to part with and not the objects of the desire. the power to enjoy your material possessions in such spirit of detachment that you will not be overjoyed by gain.190 Isha Upanishad: Part Two Karmayogin is not necessarily a physical abandonment. robbers cannot take it away. provided you . then my use of riches must necessarily be selfless and without blame. — not the mere flight from their presence. Passionless enjoyment alone is pure & unmixed delight. deep and calm. which is simply a flight from temptation. — the passion for its increase. The Karmayogin has to remain in the world & conquer it. sorrow. You are not asked to give up your house and wealth. it is the spirit on which the Karmayogin must concentrate his effort. your friends. The abandonment demanded of you is therefore a spiritual abandonment. A spiritual abandonment then. — for the body only matters as the case of the spirit. the fear of its utter loss. All other joy of possession is chequered and broken with fear. nor cast down by loss. he is not allowed to flee from the scene of conflict and shun the battle. only because it makes it easier to purify the spirit. For if my spirit does not lust after new wealth or cling to the wealth I have. enemies cannot overwhelm it. fate cannot break it. the trouble of keeping it unimpaired. If the spirit itself is not stained by desire. is the lionlike courage that will dare to meet its spiritual enemies in their own country and citadel and tread them down under its heel. the body cannot be touched by uncleanness. the sorrow for its diminution. your children. trouble and passion. If indeed you choose to abandon riches physically as well as in spirit. — the one quality he must possess. is the test of its reality. What you have to give up is your selfish desire for them and your habit of regarding them as your possessions and chattels who are yours merely in order to give you pleasure. in itself it is of no importance. I can then truly enjoy their possession.

There is another curious law of which many who follow the path of spiritual renunciation. Such a man will quickly rise above joy and sorrow. Glory. As a king merely touching the nazzerana passes it on to the public treasury. That nearness will deepen into continual companionship and by companionship he will grow ever liker God in his spiritual image until he reaches the last summit of complete identity when man. have had experience. . success and failure. it has its rise. for humanity because he sees Brahman in all these.The Karmayogin 191 take care that you are not cherishing the thought of them in your mind. not for his personal pleasure certainly. Selflessness then is the real & only law of renunciation. victory and defeat. while the man who has turned his back on them. by the feeling of the divine presence in all earthly objects. he will veil in many folds of quiet and unobtrusive humility and use the influence it gives not for his own purposes but to help men more effectively in their needs or to lead them upward to the divine. Their lover perishes without winning them or reaches them through deep mire of sin or a hell of difficulty or over mountains of toil. The latter is a great path and has been the chosen way of innumerable saintly sages. But the Karmayogin may enjoy them. the realization of the Brahman is its completion and goal. since that sort of enjoyment he has abandoned in his heart. remembers utterly and becomes the Eternal. for the worker. He may then either enjoy or reject them. A strong capable will bent on money-making. so shall the Karmayogin. but at least as often wealth. in the love of one’s wider self in others. it becomes rooted & unshakeable. the God who has forgotten his godhead. but God in them and them for God. will doubtless win its desire. merely touching the wealth that comes to him. not for his false self. if it comes to him. It is this that such renunciation is often followed by a singular tendency for wealth to seek him who has ceased to seek wealth. for in sorrow as in joy he will feel himself to be near God. finds them crowding to lay themselves at his feet. for his country. for the poor. pour it out for those around him. fame and success flee from the man who longs after them and come to him who has conquered his longing.

the central position in Buddhism. the Eternal as a transcendent Will or Force manifesting Himself phenomenally but not really in cosmic work & the Eternal in the Jivatman. salvation by knowledge. God & himself. salvation by faith & works. the central position in Christianity. manifesting Himself similarly in individual work in a finite body. But if phenomenal existence is unreal. of what use is it to remain in the world? Let us abandon . all these three paths are equally accepted. — is insisted upon as the guiding principle & indispensable idea. enters into the being of the Eternal. three means of salvation. the transience & unreality of phenomenal existence. as we know. enters into the pure and unmixed presence of the Eternal. But in all three the peculiar and central religious experience of Hinduism. and by turning away from all that is phenomenal and seeking the One reality in himself.Chapter II Salvation through Works I The law of spiritual abandonment in preference to mere physical abandonment. by abandoning desire and laying his works upon God. This is the bridge which carries you over to immortality. The Bhakta envisages only two realities. and by the ecstatic union of himself with God through love and adoration. the transience & unreality of all else. The Karmamargin envisages three realities which are one. There are. for a deep and vexed problem which has troubled the Hindu consciousness from ancient times. and he too. the Brahman. the Sanatandharma. attains likeness to the Eternal and through that gate enters into identity with the Eternal. In Hinduism. the central position in Mahomedanism. — the reality & eternity of the Self. The Jnanamargin envisages only one reality. the Eternal in Itself. this is the gate of salvation. the greatest of all teachers. salvation by faith & love. is the solution enounced by Srikrishna. In one thing all these agree. pure and without a second.

but few also who flee to the mountains. Few. The language of the Bhakta is not very different. really attain Him. Lord. the few who are chosen. The Karmayogin alone has set himself against the current and tried to stand in the midmost of the cosmic stir. he has said. who shall say that salvation cannot be attained in the midst of actions. even through the instrumentality of actions? To this dispute the answer of Srikrishna is the one solution. then whether on solitary mountain and in tiger-haunted forest. But if he can purify his spirit of desire. “Let us leave the things of the world. To abandon desire in the spirit is the one thing needful. and few of those who spend their days in crying Lord. For the condition of salvation is to leave the lower unreal self and turn to the real Self. nay. or in Brindavun the beautiful.” Both have insisted that works and the world are a snare & a bondage from which it is best to flee. yet were God. will not find salvation. can be above the world and live in communion with the Eternal. it is vain for him to practise Yoga in mountain or forest solitude. from morn to night. It is always the many who are called. and the stain & brand of the lower self is desire. Lord. it is vain to sing the name of Hari and cry Lord. or in the king’s court. power & splendour of the life of a great king. salvation is already in his grasp. whatever way he follows. “let us forget all else and think and speak only of the name of Hari. Get rid of desire and the doors of the . Such was the cry that arose in India before and after the days of Buddha.” he cries. let us flee from them to the solitude of mountain & forest and escape as soon as possible by knowledge & meditation from the world of phenomena. if one fail to do this. if Rama & Srikrishna lived in the world and did the works of the world. The man unpurified of desire. And if Janak could remain in the world and be ever with God in the full luxury. who remain in the world. it is vain to hope for safety by “doing one’s duty in the world”. the trader’s shop or the hut of the peasant.The Karmayogin 193 house and wealth and wife and friends and children. when the power of the Jnanamarga was the strongest on the Hindu consciousness. in the very surge and flux of phenomena without being washed away in the tide. are accepted by Him to whom they cry.

sin. person or thing than the one expressed by the word to which it is attached. but willingly fill out our term and even be most ready to prolong it to the full period of man’s ordinary existence so that we may go on doing our deeds in this world. on the other hand. These are exceptional cases which the ordinary Karmamargin need not keep in view. This is what the Upanishad with great emphasis proceeds to establish as the second rule of conduct for the Karmamargin. and there is none better. There is no need to flee to the mountains in order to find God. be increased to hundreds of years by Yoga. it may.” A hundred years is the full span of a man’s natural life when he observes all the laws of his nature and keeps his body and mind pure by the use of pure food. for thus to thee and there is no other way than this. is the right way for the Karmayogin. is a good way. A few great Yogis have prolonged their lives without personal desire merely to help the world by their presence or example. we must not fling it from us untimely or even long for an early release from our body. On the other hand we must not turn our backs on life.194 Isha Upanishad: Part Two Eternal stand wide open for your soul to enter in. ^ adding to it the particle ev. thy deeds in this world and wish to live thy hundred years. the force of which is to exclude any other action. Verily we must do our deeds in this world and not avoid doing them. The term is ordinarily diminished by heedlessness. but the way of the Tyagin who lives among sense-objects and in the whirl of action without cherishing the first or yielding to the rush of the second. Mark the emphasis laid on the word kvn “doing” by . To increase his term of life would show a desire for and clinging to phenomenal existence quite inconsistent with that abandonment of desire which we have seen to be the fundamental law of Karmayoga. state. by purity of thought and by self-restraint in the satisfaction of his desires. action cleaveth not to a man. He is not a hill-man or a serpent . by pure ways of living. But the Karmayogin will neither desire to increase his term of life nor to diminish it. The way of the Sannyasin who leaves the world and devotes all himself to Jnana or Bhakti. verily. “Do. contamination or the effects of our past action in other lives.

man can have no farther object in life than to reach and possess Him. but the strong and brave alone. You may go to the mountains for a while. Having once seen God. so to purify body & mind and nature that he may see the Eternal reflected in himself as in an unsoiled mirror. He is here. In no case flee to solitude and inaction as a coward and weakling. with whom you talk & pass your life. you must come back and live again in the stir of the world. He is there. In the roar of the city you can find Him and in the quiet of the village.The Karmayogin 195 that we should seek for Him only in cave & on summit. as a Vaishya to satisfy within the law of morality the lower man in him and evolve the higher man by getting the first taste of delight in well-doing to others than himself and his. as the Kshatriya. for to the Karmayogin also bhakti is necessary. Through four soul-stages a man must pass before he can be perfect. then. — not in the hope of finding God. but because you think you can by this means escape from the miseries and misfortunes of your life which you are too weak to face. as a Sudra. But if Karmayoga be your path. by service and obedience to tame the brute in his being. Every individual Jivatman must become the perfect Kshatriya before he can become the Brahmin. then. in you and around you. last. for to the Karmayogin also Jnana is necessary and solitude is the nurse of knowledge. For there is a caste of the soul which is truer and deeper than that of the body. unconquerable tenacity and self-devotion to a great task. You may sit by the Ganges or the Narmada near some quiet temple or in some sacred asram to adore the Lord. courage. Now the Karmayogin is a soul that is already firmly established in the Kshatriya stage and is rising from it through an easily-attained . He is in these men and women whom you see daily. and places like these which are saturated with the bhakti of great saints and impassioned God-lovers best feed and strengthen the impulse of adoration in the soul. nor a deer or tiger that the forest only can harbour Him. as the Brahmin. to be trained in those first qualities without which the pursuit of the Eternal is impossible. It is not the weak and the coward who can climb up to God. if the din of life deafens you & you wish to seek solitude to meditate. strength. first.

Just as you recognize a genuine article from the imitation by its trademark. Nor is it the talk and the outward action which is the trademark. but we must be on our guard against the false shows and imitations of it to which our minds are subject. Apply the same test to yourself. let me therefore get away from the world. but this worldweariness accompanied by a thirst for the Eternal. not bound to sin and chequered with sorrow. . a weak fainting of the soul. put on the saffron robe and be at peace from anxiety and grief”. Look in the eyes. but pure and free?” If after severe self-examination. so there is a mark by which you recognize the true Sannyasin. & what can he do but fall? II. wait for a light on the face. the shrinking from the phenomenal life and the desire to escape from it to the Eternal. watch the slighter. Let his footing be lost. but the longing for the Eternal. ask yourself. If he loses hold of his courage & heroism. he loses his footing on the very standingground from which he is to heighten himself in his spiritual stature until his hand can reach up to and touch the Eternal. “Is this mere weariness & disgust. When you think you have vairagya. look for it always and see that it is the real trademark. “I am continually battered with the siege of sorrows & miseries. in our terminology. you can detect this desire in yourself. that is the real vairagya. vairagya. The saffron robe nowadays covers a great deal of selfishness. Vairagya is the turning of the soul to its salvation. Not weariness of the phenomenal world by itself. a great deal of idleness. then you will find the trademark. The thirst for the Eternal is the trademark. It is not the robe which is the trademark. is called. a great deal of hypocrisy.196 Isha Upanishad: Part Two Brahminhood straight & swift to God. less observed habits. that is not the language of real vairagya. or can I detect in it even in a slight degree an awakening of the Self and a desire for that which is not transient but eternal. Vairagya. I cannot cope with the world. for that may be a mere imitation. Disgust with the world. not an imperfect & fraudulent reproduction. know that your salvation has begun.

then they seek solitude. Sometimes it is the sorrows & miseries of the world that find them in ease & felicity and drive them out. deep. such were Shankaracharya and Ramakrishna. Beware of such weakness. sometimes men have tried in their ignorance for ignoble things and failed. some false. as Buddha & Christ were driven out. Protector and Destroyer of worlds. The sorrow and disappointment were necessary to open their eyes to their true selves. or else would use Yoga and Sannyas as the drunkard uses his bottle or the slave of opium his pill or his daily draught. But on the other hand there is a true vairagya of sorrow and disappointment.The Karmayogin 197 There are many kinds of vairagya. ?l \ mA -m gm. so he turns from them to something in his being which is deeper and holier. Not for such ignoble purpose were these great things meant by the Rishis who disclosed them to the world. and seeks in the outward life of the Sannyasin a slothful and thornless road to honour and ease and the satisfaction of greed. not as a dram to drown their sorrow and yet unsated longing. to seek light for the ignorant . some true. the Creator. There is one vairagya. of the hypocrite or weakling. were unfit for them and below their true greatness and high destiny. they are not the true and immortal joy which his true and immortal self demands. Once attained they pour it in a stream of divine knowledge or divine love over the world. false or transient. meditation & Samadhi. Sometimes great spirits enter the way of the Sannyasin. the Eternal. when the strong man having tasted the sweets of the world finds that there is in them no permanent and abiding sweetness. but because their yearning is no longer for unworthy things but for the love of God or the knowledge of the Eternal. who has lusted and panted and thirsted for the world’s sweets. is no other than Brahman. because in the solitude alone with the Eternal they can best develop their divine strength (Brahmatej) to use it for divine purposes. Then there is the vairagya. the joy of the inexhaustible and imperishable spirit within. not from weakness but because these things were not in their nature. but has been pushed and hustled from the board by Fate or by stronger men than himself. pAT {Ny nt v ypp t. intense & energetic. Truly is such base weakness unworthy of one who { .

but remember it is a first stage on the road. For we have . but when he had attained mukti. The spiritual element of vairagya is the turning away from the selfish desire for phenomenal objects and actions. Welcome therefore the first inrush of vairagya into your life. outward & not inward. The retention of the spiritual element is necessary to all Yogins. but he will not abide in it. could not indeed return to the world as a householder or bear the touch of worldly things. For if you do not get weary of the phenomenal. the physical element is the fear of and shrinking from the objects & actions themselves. Whatever be the precise nature of the vairagya or its immediate & exciting cause. an idea shocking to priestly & learn` d orthodoxy.198 Isha Upanishad: Part Two and help for sufferers in the depths of their own being. Do not be shaken by the high authority of many who say that to leave the world is necessary to the seeker after Brahman and that salvation cannot come by works. the attraction of the phenomenal. when he had attained identity with the Lord. True Sannyasins are the greatest of all workers. keeps your eyes turned downward & not upward. though often a sign of great physical purity and saintliness. because they have the most unalloyed & inexhaustible strength and are the mightiest in God to do the works of God. but natural to the Jivanmukta. not the goal. if the thirst for the Eternal mingle in it. the state of his mind so changed that if his wife had been living. — for he was the incarnation of utter Bhakti. e Sri Ramakrishna. You must pass through this stage if you are to reach the Eternal at all. he would have lived with her in the world as one in the world. — but he took as much delight in the Eternal manifested in phenomena & especially in man as in the pure actionless Brahman with whom he became one in Samadhi. Swami Bhaskarananda was driven into Sannyas by a keen & overmastering disgust of life in the world. the retention of the physical element. The Karmamargin must pass through the condition of Vairagya. Or to speak more accurately he will retain the spiritual element in it and reject the physical. your mind cannot turn to the Eternal. know that it is real vairagya and the necessary impulse towards your salvation. is not essential to salvation.

abandoning the world that you may enjoy it. in the Gita. He has made it and He will break it. not a purposeful stir and struggle out of which He is to gain something and be benefited. it will be as if it had never been. so that instead of the uninstructed multitudes being bewildered and led astray by your inactivity. strengthened and maintained by the godlike character of your works. Jnana is first & best. The very Sun and its glorious wheeling planets are but momentary toys in His hands. His play & sport. before it speaks of the necessity of works. or as Sri Krishna advises. And your works must be godlike if they are done without desire or attachment to their fruits. For this is how God works. the teaching of Srikrishna himself. and. a day will come & they will no longer be.The Karmayogin 199 a greater authority than any to set against them. you will then be able to do works without desire or illusion. takes care first to insist that you must realise the presence of the Lord enveloping this universe & each object that it contains. for the keep\g ing together of the peoples. while laying stress on Jnana & Bhakti. The great empire in which you glory & think it is to be eternal. but to the Brahman in you which works loks }hAT. Yet while . not to the lower false self. is to Him no more than the house of sand which a child has built in his play. giving up all hankering for the fruits of your work. Works without knowledge will not save a man but only plunge him deeper & deeper into bondage. the world may be rather helped. he will by no means banish Karma nor relegate it to an inferior place. one day. He tells Sanjay in the Mahabharata that as between the gospel of action and the gospel of inaction. Once they were not. You will devote all your actions to the Lord. The world is His lila. now they are. as the Upanishad tells you. Jnana. the most significant portion of the Gita is its eulogy of Karmayoga and inspired exposition of its nature & principles. The Upanishad. is indispensable. which feels pleasure & pain in the results of your actions. When you have got this Jnana that all is the One Brahman and your actions are but the dramatic illusions unrolled by Prakriti for the delight of the Purusha. So too. it is the former that is to his mind and the latter strikes him as the idle talk of a weakling. of course.

yet eventually it is the way of Jnana he must take and no other. these only do not cling to a man nor bind him in their invisible chains. Dhanunjoy. be he Jnani. however largely he may infuse his Jnana with Bhakti. for it is the swabhava or nature of a man which decides the way he shall take. III. To the Karmayogin indeed this path is the only possible way. “Thus to thee. his . If a born Jnani becomes the disciple of a great Bhakta.200 Isha Upanishad: Part Two He works on these things. Bhakta. This the Upanishad emphasizes in the second line of the verse.” By this expression it is not intended that Karmayoga is the only path of salvation for all men. . and there is no other way than this. must devote whatever work he may be doing to the Eternal. but that the renunciation of desire is essential to salvation. One Road and not Three. \ udAsFnvdAsFnms \ tq kms . for I sit as one unconcerned and I have no attachment to these My works. or Karmi. They cannot bind him because he is free from the woven net of causality. This is the goal of the Karmayogin as of all Yoga. but the path for him is through spiritual Vairagya. Cause and effect exist only in the idea of duality which has its root in Avidya. For that is his swabhava or nature. the Yogin when he has renounced desire and experienced unity. not through physical separation from the objects of desire. and bondage has no farther meaning for him. action clingeth not to a man. n c mA tAEn kmAEZ Enb E t Dn y. “There is no other way than this.” ev (vEy nA yTto_E-t n km El=yt nr.” Actions performed after renunciation. actions devoted to God. every Yogin. “And yet these actions bind Me not. He works like the boy when he is building his castle of sand. rises above Avidya & her children. however submissively he may accept his Master’s teachings. as if the work were to be permanent and for all time. This is conclusive and \ beyond appeal. but rather fall from him as water from the wings of a swan. the renunciation of desire.

it was right that Jnana should be exalted at the expense of works. he will be drawn into Jnana. If the Brahmin predominates in him.The Karmayogin 201 dharma or the law of his being. and Shankaracharya’s is an authority which no man can dare to belittle. The three paths are really one. the devotion of works to God brings inevitably the love of God. So Shankaracharya disparages karma. into works. but the Jnani takes the right hand. In the age that Shankara lived in. Unillumined Karma is such a stumbling block in the path of the seeker that they can hardly regard even illumined & desireless Karma as anything but a subordinate discipline whose only value is to prepare a man for Bhakti or Jnan. The great living force with which he had to deal. It is always the predominance of one or other. and that is divine Karma. In his continual anxiety to prove that these ceremonies could not be the . for as with the Karmayogin. the knowledge of the Brahman means delight in Him. but still with one predominant over the others and striking the main note of his life and teaching. while on the way each prefers his own choice as best and thinks the others inferior. the Bhakta the left hand and the Karmayogin walks in the middle. So it is even with the Jnani. he will harmonize all three. They will not easily concede that karma can be by itself a direct and sufficient road to Brahman. so it is with the Bhakta. and that is Bhakti. Buddhism decayed and senescent. the love of God will of itself direct all his works to God and bring him straight to knowledge. and love gives knowledge. if the Kshatriya. the child or woman. but the triumphant Karmakanda which made the faithful performance of Vedic ceremonies the one path and heaven the highest goal. If he is born saint or avatar. The Jnani & Bhakta shrink from the idea of Karma as a means of salvation. if the Sudra or Vaisya. was not the heresies of later Buddhism. Nevertheless even the greatest are conditioned by their nature. but when they reach the goal. by the times they work in and by the kind of work they have come to do. not its unmixed control. which decides the path. but it was one road they were following which only seemed to be three. they find that none was inferior or superior. and this love & knowledge cannot let him live to himself but will make him live to Brahman. to Bhakti.

when looked at not from the standpoint of logic only but of actual spiritual experience? Some people when they talk of Karma or works. It is therefore sometimes Adwaitic. All these conceptions of the Eternal have their own truth and their own usefulness to the soul in its effort to reach Him. the people would not have understood him. so that the Monistic idea might receive its definite and consummate philosophical expression. the Monistic conception of the Eternal. sometimes Visishtadwaitic. to which the denial of salvation by works amounts. The denial of salvation by works What is it. It was necessary that the Scripture should be interpreted by Shankara wholly in the light of Adwaita. Had he laid stress on Karma as one of the ways to salvation. after all. a modified Monism. discharge from our mind all preconceived philosophies and ask only. he bent the bow as far as he could in the other direction and left the impression that works could not be the path to salvation at all. sometimes Dwaitic. IV. These things must be remembered when we find Shankara and Ramanuja and Madhwa differing so widely from each other in their interpretation of the Upanishad.202 Isha Upanishad: Part Two path. it will be enough if it is true in the experience of the seeker after God. Vedic. and we should have the courage now to leave the paths which the mighty dead have trod out for us. but also with His reality in His universe and His reality to the Jivatman or individual self. “What does the Upanishad actually say?” Never mind whether the interpretation arrived at seems to be self-contradictory to the logician or incoherent to the metaphysical reasoner. think only of rites and ceremonies. For the Eternal is infinite and cannot be cabined within the narrow limits of a logical formula. they would have thought that they had one more authority for their belief in rites and ceremonies as all-sufficient for salvation. . But the Upanishad is not concerned only with the ultimate reality of the Brahman to Himself. for a similar reason it was necessary that Madhwa should interpret them wholly in the light of the Dwaita or dualistic conception and that Ramanuja should find a reconciliation in Visishtadwaita.

we are entering into so many debts which we must discharge before we can be released from the obligation of phenomenal existence. For all work that we do. For all the effects of our action we are responsible and by each new thing we do. by his very entry. nor do they disappear in that consummation. but Paradise is not salvation. power and splendour in this world. cannot lead to salvation. besides its effect on ourselves. do not bring us to salvation. Existence in phenomena may be imaged as a debtor’s prison in which the soul is detained by a million creditors not one of whom will forgive one farthing of his claims. we can only procure by entering into fresh debts which put us at the mercy of new and equally implacable claimants. becomes free and her master. works done without knowledge and not devoted to God. it is indeed often a hindrance to salvation. certainly.The Karmayogin 203 Puranic or Tantric. for her law is inexorable and will not admit of remission or indulgence. Or rites and ceremonies may purify and prepare the mind and fit it for starting on one of the paths to salvation. but only to continued bondage. these in their turn become causes and produce fresh effects. the great judge and gaoler. infinite effects on others and on the general course of phenomena. has. They may give success & great joy. Or these rites may lead to the conscious possession and use of occult powers. Nature. each sum we get to pay off our old creditors. But those claims we can never discharge. . Works prompted by desire. it is a temporary joyous condition of the soul. It is evident again that works done with desire. This indeed is their only helpfulness for the true aim of our existence. so the ripple continues widening till we lose sight of it in the distance of futurity. lead only to the fulfilment of desire. We can obtain our release only by escaping from her jurisdiction into the divine sanctuary where the slave of Nature. but the possession of occult powers cannot be an assistance. That kind of works. They are no more than an infant or preparatory class in the school of Brahmavidya. the pleasure of which ceases when the cause is exhausted. latent in ordinary men. is ever giving fresh decrees against us. Or they may lead to enjoyment after death in Paradise. by which you may help or harm others.

To deny the innocence of works without desire would be to deny reason. then. to which the name of works does not properly apply. But this reasoning too is not consistent with divine teaching. gives us strength for fresh actions of the same kind. For divine teaching distinctly tells us that works done after abandonment of the world and devoted to God only. with experience or with reason. only the pursuit of Godknowledge and the worship & adoration of God. and the persistent repetition of such works must form the habit of desirelessness & self-devotion to Him. are free from responsibility. for their karma was done with knowledge and without desire. but none will say that either the avatar or the jivanmukta were bound by his works. Works without desire. For Janaka and others did works. Srikrishna did works. It may be argued. We know also that a single action done without desire and devoted to the Lord. to deny facts. where can we be if not in the presence of the Eternal? Nor can self-devotion to the Lord be reasonably said not to lead to the Lord. do lead to salvation. neither do they help towards salvation.204 Isha Upanishad: Part Two But the works of the Karmayogin are works done with knowledge and without desire. We have already seen that desirelessness necessarily takes us outside the jurisdiction of Nature. that if they do not prevent salvation. however. For bondage is the result of desire and ignorance and disappears with desire and ignorance. and when we are outside the jurisdiction of Nature. Desire & ignorance are indeed the boundaries of Nature’s jurisdiction and once we have left them behind. we have taken sanctuary from her pursuit and are freemen released from the action of her laws. for where else can it lead? It is clear therefore that works without desire not only do . cannot prevent salvation or lead to fresh bondage. The works of the Bhakta or Jnani do not bind him because he has attained the Eternal and by the strength of that attainment becomes free from desire and ignorance. These certainly cannot prevent release or lead to fresh debt and fresh bondage. which then become our nature and atmosphere. to deny Sruti. but works done before attainment can be nothing but means of bondage. we have passed out of her kingdom.

. But work continues so long as the body gross or subtle continues. bhakti and jnana. the Karmayogin might equally well say that Bhakti leads to knowledge and the devotion of one’s works to the Lord. or that jnana leads to adoration of the Eternal and devotion of all one does to him. both the physical case & the soul-case are always part of Prakriti. for created things follow after their . this too is inconsistent with experience. But if this were good reasoning. It is therefore devotion and knowledge. Or if it is said that works must cease at a certain stage while Bhakti and Jnana do not cease. yet need not continue. rites & ceremonies need not continue. Z. for all are helplessly made to do work by the moods to \ which Nature has given birth. and its function is therefore not essentially higher than that of rites & ceremonies. the life of the householder need not continue. kt AnvAnEp. kEtj . For Janaka and others did works after they attained the Eternal and while they were in the body. Particular works need not continue. must do work. therefore knowledge and works without desire bring a man to the Eternal and bhakti is only a preliminary means. It cannot even be said that works though they need not necessarily cease after the attainment of the Eternal.” And again sdf c t -v-yA. As soon as either of these takes him by the hand. and whatever is Prakriti.The Karmayogin 205 not prevent salvation but are a mighty help towards salvation. karma must leave him. for both the gross body and the subtle body. just as rites & ceremonies must leave him. “Even the Jnani moveth & doeth after the semblance of his own nature. did not cease from works. The Gita says this plainly n Eh kE ("ZmEp jAt Et (ykmkt. It may still be argued that works without desire help only because they lead to devotion and knowledge and there their function ceases. km sv. ^ kAyt vf. {g { “For no man verily remaineth even for a moment without doing works. which alone bring us to God. therefore bhakti and works without desire alone bring the soul direct to God and jnana is only a preliminary means. they bring the soul to a certain stage but do not carry it direct to God.

Work therefore does not cease any more than Bhakti or Jnana. He is above works. it is true. is pouring out a stream of spiritual force on all sides. When the Jivatman becomes Sacchidananda. to move his limbs. Even the greatest Yogi by his mere bodily presence in the world.. this action does not bind him. But as Isha or Shakti. the moods of Nature. even though he does not lift a finger or move a step. yet it is work and work which exercises a stupendous influence on others. for Jnana makes us one with the Eternal who is actionless aktA. As Sacchidananda. He works and He does not work. works are lost in Sat or absolute Existence. If nothing else he has to maintain his body. work. for he is no longer the slave of Prakriti.206 Isha Upanishad: Part Two nature and what can forcing it do?” A man works according to his nature and cannot help doing work. gross & subtle. to sit in asan and meditate. whether to desire or to God. his mind is far more active than his body. knowledge is lost in Chit or absolute Consciousness.. his body & mind are not free from Karma until he is able to get rid of them finally. And not only his body works. He too with regard to his body. has not therefore got rid of works. is avf. For Brahman the Eternal. he must let the gunas. Yet Janaka knew the Eternal and did works. and that will not be till his prarabdha karma has worked itself out and the debts he has written against his name are wiped off. to eat. devotion is lost in Ananda or absolute bliss. Shankara indeed says that when we have got Jnana. The man who leaves the world behind him and sits on a mountaintop or in an asram. He may control that work. but he cannot stop it except by finally leaving his body & mind through Yoga with the Eternal. to walk. all this is work. Even if he is released from desire. He is svBtEhtrt. Sri Krishna was the Eternal and did works. If he is not released from desire. but he can choose to what he shall direct his works. whether to his lower self or his higher. He does works by which He is not bound and the Jivatman also . his work will bind him and bear fruit in relation to himself and others. is both ktA and aktA. we necessarily cease to do works. busy doing good to all creatures by his very nature. but He is also above knowledge and above devotion.

not e e this. sadrishya. It is supposed by some schools that entire salvation consists in laya or absorption into the Eternal. as soon as the Self throws away all its bodies and reenters into its absolute existence. for the Jivanmukta can at will withdraw himself in Samadhi into the . We need not therefore fear that works without desire will not lead us straight to the Eternal. remains in it. not that. the self who has attained salvation but instead of immediately passing out of phenomenal existence. There are three kinds of salvation which are relative & partial. in other words entire selfremoval from phenomena and entrance into the utter being of the unconditioned and unknowable Parabrahman. The ideal of the Karmayogin is the Jivanmukta. Mukti and the Jivanmukta. or permanent resemblance to Him in one’s nature & actions. salokya or constant companionship with the Lord. unexplicable and inexpressible in terms of speech and mind. Such laya is not possible in the body. is complete mukti. such as we find in the Jivanmukta. This. we need not think that we must give up works in order that we may develop the love of God or attain the knowledge of God. Even of the Unknowable Parabrahman too it cannot be said that It is actionless. It is not indeed the mere mechanical change of death that brings about this result. but the will of the Self to throw aside all its bodies and never returning to them pass rather out of that state of consciousness in the Eternal in which He looks upon Himself as a Will or Force. however. nor do they cease after we have left the body except by union with the actionless Sacchidananda or laya in the Unknowable Brahman. and sayujya or constant union of the individual self with the Eternal. but can only begin. is an extreme attitude. adehanipatat. It is n´ ti. Works therefore do not cease in the body. It is neither ktA nor aktA. Complete self-identification with the Eternal.The Karmayogin 207 when he is made one with Isha or Shakti continues to do works without being bound. V. n´ ti. free from its bondage. where Jnana and Bhakti also are swallowed up in unfathomable being.

never were bound and never will be bound. salvation from what tyranny? From the bondage of Maya. which we have to render in English by salvation. For the Jivanmukta laya. Avidya consists precisely in this that the Jivatman thinks there is something else than the Eternal which can throw him into bondage and that he himself is something else than the Eternal and can be bound. mortal and bound. not mortal. not bound. Mukti. Why do men hanker after complete absorption into the unphenomenal? why do they flee from Karma and dread lest it should interfere with their salvation? Because they feel that phenomenal life and works are a bondage and they desire to be free and not bound. and never was anything but the Eternal and never will be anything but the Eternal. the terror of Maya and her works cannot abide with him. dealing with them as their Lord who puts them to work without being touched by their stir and motion. from ever and forever free. but deathless & immutable. means really release. but infinite. He can therefore have no fear of Karma nor shrink from it lest it should bind him. but always free. but to be reborn as Srikrishna . from that moment you will know that you are not bound. The moment you have realised that Avidya is illusion and there is nothing but the Eternal. who are not finite. The reason for his not willing this utter departure brings us to the very essence of Mukti. the self desirous of freedom. and can at will look again towards phenomena. absorption into the Unknowable. can be accomplished at his will. from the tyranny of Avidya which will have us believe that we are finite. for he knows that the feeling of bondage is itself an illusion. This state of mind can only last so long as the seeker is the mumukshu. he realises that there is nothing but Brahman the Eternal who is in His very nature nityamukta. but he does not will it. When the Jivatman shakes off these illusory impressions of Avidya. the moment you have not merely intellectually grasped the idea but come to have habitual experience of the fact. who is actionless and turned away from phenomena. the free self. but when he is actually mukta.208 Isha Upanishad: Part Two being of Sacchidananda. He will be ready not only to do his deeds in this world and live out his hundred years. But release from what bondage.

He is now free and lord. the master of Prakriti. preserver and destroyer. but Devadatta who has played & will yet play a hundred parts besides. for all the promissory notes he has executed in her name have been burned up in the fire of Mukti. He is Isha. the Lord. not its slave. just as an actor imagines himself to be Dushyanta. There are certain debts standing against his name in the ledger of Nature and these he will first absolve. always free. he has no farther terror of Maya and her bondage. the Jivanmukta remains amid works like a prisoner on parole. In order therefore . Of course the Jivanmukta is not legally bound by his debts to Nature. causes which must be allowed to work out their effects. only for your own amusement you have imagined yourself limited to a particular body for the purposes of the play. u(sFdyErm lokA. Rama or Ravana. The actor has lost himself in the play and for a moment thinks that he is what he is acting. to maintain the law of the world unimpaired. For however often he may enter into phenomenal life. but because the real you in the body is Brahman who by the force of His own Shakti is playing for Himself and by Himself this dramatic lila of creation. but detained by his own will until the time appointed for his captivity shall have elapsed. Do therefore your deeds in this world and wish to live your hundred years. still he must always strive to model himself upon it. Once free. Preserver and Destroyer. creator. not bound by the fetters of Prakriti. he will be careful not to leave the world of phenomena until his prarabdha karma is worked out. You are He.The Karmayogin 209 himself has promised to be reborn again and again and as other avatars have promised to be reborn. preservation and destruction. while in the illusion of bondage. When he shakes . Creator. otherwise the chain of causation is snapped and a disturbance is brought about in the economy of Nature. and you also in the field of your own Prakriti are the lord. You should be willing to live your allotted term of life not for the sake of long living. he has forgotten that he is really not Dushyanta or Rama. Even if he does not will to be reborn. The Jivanmukta is the ideal of the Karmayogin and though he may not reach his ideal in this life or the next.. But the Prakriti attached to this Jivatman has created.

then we are masters of Prakriti and not bound by her creations. VI. but only the desire for their fruits. will obtain a result the very opposite to what he desires. The object of this phenomenal world is creation and it is our business.210 Isha Upanishad: Part Two off this illusion and remembers that he is Devadatta. But when we know and experience our true Self. To these the Upanishad addresses a solemn warning. he does not therefore walk off the stage and by refusing to act. there were many who were so charmed by the glowing description of the other world published by spiritualists that they committed suicide in order to reach it. It would almost seem as if in the old days when the pursuit of the Eternal dominated the mind of the race and disgust of the transitory was common. so long as we forget our true Self. there were many who rather than live out their hundred years preferred a self-willed exit from the world of phenomena. neither will he try or wish to leave his life in this world before its appointed end. while we are in the body. but goes on playing his best till the proper time comes for him to leave the stage. The Karmamargin aims at being a Jivanmukta. “Godless verily are those . we create like servants under the compulsion of Prakriti and are slaves and bound by her actions which we falsely imagine to be our own. Our Self becomes the Sakshi. to create. The Karmamargin therefore will not try or wish to abandon actions while he is in this world. Only. and yet because we know the whole to be merely an illusion of apparent actions. In the early days of spiritualism in America. break up the play. he will not cherish within himself the spirit of the suicide. The man who violently breaks the thread of his life before it is spun out. because we know that Rama is not really killing Ravana. for Ravana lives as much after the supposed death as before. So are we at once spectator and actor. the silent spectator of the actions of our Nature which she models in the way she thinks would best please it. nor Ravana being killed. but the Self only and all we see nothing but visions of the Self. so are we neither spectator nor actor. Suicide and the other World.

We say indeed mn ylok.The Karmayogin 211 worlds and with blind gloom enveloped. cannot mean a particular kind of birth but either a world or the people in the world. pflok. “Rajasic verily are those births and enveloped with blind darkness to which those depart when they pass away. m(ylok. He does not accept aA(mhno. beasts or gods. Shankara takes aAsrA as Rajasic and applicable to birth in the form of . Since this is a startlingly unnatural & paradoxical sense. whatso folk are slayers of self. whoso are slayers of the Self. of the Daityas in opposition to Daivic of the Devas. The word asyA may very well mean . because Shankara gives a quite unexpected and out-of-the-way interpretation of the verse. . instead of returning to the pure existence of Parabrahman. for example birth as a man. We say -vglok. lose hold of their true Self and are born as men. . in the sense of suicides. } Farther lokA. but it means the world of men . the natural and ordinary meaning. men. The rendering of aA(mhno substitutes a strained and unparalleled interpretation for the common and straightforward sense of the word. beasts and even of gods in opposition to {v which is pure d Sattwic and applicable only to Parabrahman. self-slayers. has always the sense of worlds as in golok b lok . lok but Shankara forces it to mean births. lok. The objections to this interpretation are many and fatal.” All those who put themselves under the yoke of Ignorance. the Self is in a way killed because it is made to disappear into the darkness of Maya. thither they depart when they have passed away. . The word lok. ihlok. birth as a beast. To kill the Self means merely to cast the Self under the delusion of ignorance which leads to birth and rebirth. & never birth as a man. Then there is a third and equally violent departure from the common & understood use of words. prlok. He thus gets the verse to mean. asyA or aAsrA would mean ordinarily Asuric . and in these senses it is always used both in the Sruti and elsewhere. pE"lok. he farther interprets his interpretation in a figurative sense.” One has to be peculiarly careful in rendering the exact words of the Upanishad. for the Self neither slays nor is slain. birth as a God. we do not say kFVlok. but understands it to signify slayers of the eternal Self within them. .

Moreover. mhA(mAn-t mA pAT {vF\ kEtmAE tA.. precisely as Titanic and Olympian are opposed terms in English. rA"sFmAsrF\ c kEt moEhnF\ E tA. if taken in its straightforward sense. that the expression y k loses its strong limiting force if it is applied to all beings but the very few who have found salvation. {v \ . that even his authority cannot oblige us to accept it. who is above birth and above condition. Hell under Patala. Patala under the earth. Shankara’s rendering involves so many and considerable faults. For instance in the Gita moGAfA moGkmAZo moG AnA Evcts. these are Asuric worlds: Swarga on . gods as opposed to the divine birth of Parabrahman. men. Such is always the sense wherever the terms are opposed in Sanscrit literature.. Bj (yn ymnso A(vA BtAEdm&yym ^ In this passage Asuric and Rakshasic nature are rajasic nature as of the Titans and tamasic nature as of the Rakshasa. are the worlds of deep darkness & suffering at the other pole from the worlds of the gods. We will therefore take the verse in its plain sense: it is a warning to those who imagine that by the self-willed shortening of their days upon earth they can escape from the obligation of phenomenal existence. On the other hand. It may be urged. daivic nature implies sattwic nature as of the Gods. we rather find to be strictly logical in its structure and very orderly in the development of its thought. the plain rendering of the words of the Upanishad in their received and ordinary sense gives a simple and clear meaning which is both highly appropriate in itself and develops naturally from what has gone before. Daivic and Asuric are always opposed terms referring to the gods and Titans. for asyA lokA . The Asuric or godless worlds to which the suicide is condemned. \ d . in addition.212 Isha Upanishad: Part Two Rajasic but not in the way Shankara applies to it. The verse as rendered by Shankara does not logically develop from what went before and the fault of incoherence is imported into the Upanishad which. cannot signify the births of beasts. There are other flaws besides the straining of word-senses. the world of light and joy which is the reward of virtuous deeds.

plains. Martyaloka is not essentially this Earth we men live in. When a man dies in great pain or in great grief or in fierce agitation of mind and his last . Brahmalok. let us speak in the language and think the thoughts of dream. The apparent surroundings. where the word is used in its essential meaning .The Karmayogin 213 the mountaintops of existence in the bright sunshine is a world of the gods. a place of misery unspeakable. Hell. The Sruti speaks of the spirit’s loka in the next world. it believes itself to be in a place surrounded by thick darkness. for there may be other abodes of mortal beings. they are the worlds of gloom and suffering in the nether depths of our own being.. Brahmalok the condition of abiding with God in the causal body. All this is of course mythology and metaphor. the condition of misery in the subtle body. the sum of sensible images & appearances into which the spirit under the influence of Illusion materializes its mental state. so when it is in a condition of complete tamas in the subtle body. Earth. but the condition of mortality in the gross body. the Lunar & Solar Worlds. but a condition of the Jivatman. Narak. This world of darkness is imaged as under the earth on the side turned away from the sun. — these are all imagery and dreams. makes the world in which it lives. Swargaloka is the condition of bliss in the subtle body. Patal. because earth is our mortal condition and this world is a state lower than our mortal condition. rivers. trees. but the Asuric worlds are a reality. amE mn lok lok. since they are all in the Jivatman itself and exist outside it only as pictures & figures: still while we are dreamers. This then is the Asuric world. ^ of the spirit’s state or condition and again in its figurative meaning of the world corresponding to its condition. it is a world of thick darkness because the light created by the splendour of the Eternal in the consciousness of the Jivatman is entirely eclipsed with the extreme thickening of the veil of Maya which intercepts from us the full glory of His lustre. trees and stones. all the rest being only circumstances and details of a dream. Paradise. Just as the Jivatman like a dreamer sees the Earth and all it contains when it is in the condition of mortality and regards itself as in a particular region with hills. Golok. A world is not a place with hills. Hell.

the soul passes quickly to a condition of highest bliss which we call variously Kailas. from which it does not return in this aeon of the . So it is with the suicide. and whatever impressions are dominant at the moment. but a passionate and disgustful departure. Behesta or Paradise and from which it will return to the state of mortality in the body. O son of Kunti. y y vAEp -mr BAv (yj(y t klvrm.” Hence the importance. to that state and no other it goeth. death is a moment of intense concentration when the departing spirit gathers up the impressions of its mortal life as a host gathers provender for its journey. pain or horror. If the ideas and impressions uppermost are such as to associate the self with the higher desires of the mind. he sinks into this condition because of the feelings of disgust. If the ideas and impressions uppermost are such as to associate the self with the higher understanding and bliss of the Self. perhaps for centuries. vile & low desires of the mind. \ { “Or indeed whatever (collective) impressions of mind one remembering leaveth his body at the last.214 Isha Upanishad: Part Two thoughts are full of fear. Vaikuntha. and is continually under the impress of those impressions. even apart from Mukti. rage. and where there is disturbance or bitterness of the soul in its departure. For if the ideas and impressions then uppermost are such as to associate the self with this gross body and the vital functions or the base. This is the law of death. then the soul passes quickly to a rajasic condition of light & pleasure which we call Swarga. of living a clean and noble life and dying a calm and strong death. Goloka or Brahmaloka. for suicide is not the passionless & divine departure at his appointed time of the Yogin centred in samadhi. \ \ \ ^ t tmvEt kO ty sdA t AvBAEvt. impatience and pain or rage & fear which govern his last moments. then the soul remains long in a tamasic condition of darkness and suffering which we call Patala or in its acute forms Hell. govern its condition afterwards. there can be no tranquillity & sweetness in the state to which it departs. then the Jivatman in the Sukshmasharir is unable to shake off these impressions from his mind for years.

and each in succession we must surmount before we reach utterly that which is no illusion but the one eternal truth and. But if we have learned to identify for ever the self with the Self. It lays down for us those first principles of Karmayoga which must govern the mental state and actions of the Karmamargin in his upward progress to his ideal. rajasic illusion. for who are others? are they other than himself? The Karmamargin must strive to abandon desire and make selflessness the law of his life and action. There are three states of Maya. for possessing the Lord. Retrospect The Isha Upanishad logically falls into four portions. he will naturally love them and seek to serve them. the Siddha or perfected man and no longer the Sadhak or seeker after perfection. what is it that he does not possess? what is it he needs to covet or desire? He cannot wish to injure or deprive others of their wealth. In the next five verses we shall find the Upanishad enunciating the final goal of the Karmamargin and the ideal state of his mind and emotional part when his Yoga is perfected and he becomes a Yogin in very truth. leaving our body in the state of Samadhi.The Karmayogin 215 universe. sattwic illusion. On all that he sees. By abnegation of desire he will find the sublime satisfaction the divinity in him demands and by the abandonment of the world . he must throw the halo of that presence. His mind being thus governed by the idea of the divine omnipresence. he must perceive the nimbus and the light. rise into the unrevealed & imperishable bliss of which the Lord has said. Seeing God in others.” VII. informing each object and encompassing it. he must not and cannot covet or desire. While he is still a seeker. around all creatures and things. his mind must be governed by the idea of the Eternal as the mighty Lord and Ruler who pervades and encompasses the Universe. then before death we become the Eternal and after death we shall not be other. tamasic illusion. the first of which is comprised in the three verses we have already explained. “That is my highest seat of all. He must see him in all and around all.

might and beauty of the Lord. he will enjoy the whole world as his kingdom with a deep untroubled delight instead of embracing a few limited possessions with a chequered and transient pleasure. if he can empty his soul of its lust & longing. For the suicide does not escape from phenomenal being in this world but passes into a far darker & more terrible prison of Maya than any that earthly existence can devise for the soul. seeking only through his life and actions to get nearer to Him who is the Lord of life and Master of all actions. modestly. Neither must he shrink from life as a bondage. Whatever others may do. majesty. Least of all will he allow disgust of life and work so to master him as to make him seek release by shortening his days upon earth. for God is free and not bound. if he can feel all the glory & joy & beauty of the world passionlessly & disinterestedly as his own. if his eyes can avail never to lose sight of God. In this spirit he must do his work in this world and not flee from the struggle. He must realise that there is no bondage to him who is full of God. but live out his full term bravely. moving freely in the courts of God. selflessly and greatly. if he can envisage the godhead in his fellowmen. the Karmamargin must not remove himself from the field of action and give up work in the world. admitted hourly to His presence and growing always liker & liker in his spiritual image to the purity. To love God in His world . if he can put from him alike the coward’s shrinking from death and the coward’s longing for death.216 Isha Upanishad: Part Two in spirit. then indeed he becomes the Karmayogin who lives ever close to the eternal & almighty Presence. he is not called upon to abandon the objects of enjoyment. if he can slay the sense of egoism in his works and feel them to be not his own but the Lord’s. but to possess them with a heart purified of longing and passion. suffering neither the lust of long life nor impatience of its vanities & vexations. He must therefore be ready to live out his life and work out his work calmly and without desire. if he can do his works in the world however humble or however mighty not for himself but for God in man and God in the world. If his nature can expand to the greatness of this discipline.

The Karmayogin 217 and approach God in himself is the discipline of the Karmayogin. to embrace all created things in his heart and divinely become God in his spirit. is his goal and ideal. .

^ t Avto_ yAn(yEt Et E-m po mAtEr vA dDAEt I. yet is It swifter than thought. In It Matariswan ordereth the waters. Every ethical ideal and every religious ideal must therefore depend for its truth and permanence on its philosophical foundation. If the ideal implies a reading of the Eternal which is only distantly true and confuses Him with .Part II Karmayoga. ETERNAL TRUTH THE BASIS OF ETHICS “There is the One and It moveth not. While It standeth still. the Gods could not overtake It as It moved in front.” I The Root of Ethical Ideals Everything that has phenomenal existence. \ { . on the closeness of its fundamental idea to the ultimate truth of the Eternal. takes its stand on the Eternal and has reality only as a reflection in the pure mirror of His infinite existence. the Ideal Chapter IV The Eternal in His Universe anjdk mnso jvFyo nn vA aA=nv pvmqt. in other words. This is no less true of the affections of mind and heart and the formations of thought than of the affections of matter and the formations of the physical ether-stuff out of which this material Universe is made. It outstrippeth others as they run.

discipline of the actions created an inelastic faithfulness to domestic & public duties. attained to the highest idea and noblest practice of morality. discipline of the animal impulses an orderly courage and a cold. could not last. in the sense of a fine balance between one’s obligations to oneself and one’s obligations to others. Their type too. the stern and orderly restraint which governs the Universe. balance and proportion. of excessive virtue no less than of excessive vice. The fine development of personality under the inspiration of music and through the graceful play of intellect was the essential characteristic of their education. the basis of their public morality. Ethics in their eyes was a matter of taste. then it is a relatively false and impermanent ideal. for this reason only. discipline of the mind a conservative practical type of intellect very favourable to the creation of a powerful and well ordered State but not to the development of a manysided civilization. hence also its impermanence as a separate culture. Hence the charm and versatility of Greek civilisation. but they read Him on the side not of beauty but of force governed by law. Of all the ancient nations the Hindus. justice. the ideal of their polity. Discipline stood as the keystone of their system. The Greeks confused the Eternal with His physical manifestations and realised Him in them on the side of beauty. Jupiter was to them the Governor & great Legislator whose decrees were binding on all. the sense of proportion the one law of restraint in their private ethics. decorum. Their idea of deity was confined to the beautiful and brilliant rabble of their Olympus. the very meaning of the word religion which they have left to the European world was “binding back” and indicated as the essence of religion restraint and tying down to things fixed and decreed. because of the imperfection of the ideal . The Romans also confused the Eternal with His manifestations in physical Nature. hard purity. beauty therefore was the only law of morality which governed their civilization. was the feature in Nature’s economy which ruled their thought. though more long lived than the Greek. it hinged on the avoidance of excess in any direction.The Karmayogin 219 His physical or psychical manifestations in this world. Their ethics were full of a lofty strength & sternness.

but in its origination and arrangement out of the primal material from which it arose. origination and organization the main characteristics of their intellectual activity. they found Him not in the manifested physical Universe itself. They reached His singleness aloof from phenomena. The permanence and unconquerable vitality of their civilization is due to their having seized on an interpretation of the Eternal which. but this also is not set before us as our standard or aim. the nice care of ceremony. and the soul which makes beauty its only end is soon cloyed & sated and fails for want of nourishment and of the growth which is impossible without an ever widening & progressive activity.220 Isha Upanishad: Part Two on which it was based. manners.1 The Chinese seem to have envisaged the Eternal in a higher aspect than these Mediterranean races. They had in 1 The following passage was written in the top margin of the manuscript page. Originator. but manifestations of Himself in phenomena which are set within us to develop and around us to condition our works. God in Himself. is at least close to that truth and a large aspect of it. they saw Him in every one of His million manifestations in phenomena. orderly disposition. Disposer and Arranger. God in Nature were the “ideas” which their life expressed. duties the law of their daily life. Their civilisation was therefore more manysided and complete and their ethical and intellectual ideals more perfect and permanent than those of any other nation. but not the whole of Himself. creates in the womb of Earth or formal Matter which is the final element developed out of Ether. The soul which follows Power as its whole end must in the long run lose measure and perish from hardness and egoism and that which sees nothing but Law wither for dryness or fossilise from the cessation of individual expansion. Power & Law are not the ultimate truth of the Eternal. Akasha or the Eternal in the element of Ether. Veneration for parents and those who stand in the place of parents became the governing idea of their ethics. . But the ancient Aryans of India raised the veil completely and saw Him as the Universal Transcendent Self of all things who is at the same time the particular present Self in each. Heaven. God in man. — He is therefore the Father. Its place of insertion was not marked: Beauty is not the ultimate truth of the Eternal but only a partial manifestation of Him in phenomena which is externalised for our enjoyment and possession but not set before us as our standard or aim. It is really Himself in his relation to the Universe. though not His ultimate truth to humanity. this arranged and orderly Universe.

the Hindus warmed & softened with emotional & spiritual meaning and made broad and elastic by accepting the supreme importance of the soul’s individual life as overriding and governing the firm organization of morals and society. chivalry. but these elements of character & culture which in the Roman were hard. manners and duties. Humanity. the sense of the divinity in man. but a preparation and purification of the soul . a more noble public decorum. unlike the Greeks they had a perfect sense of spiritual beauty and were therefore able to realise the delight & glory of Nature hundreds of years before the sense of it developed in Europe. nor for the sake of society. yet they had the sense of beauty & art in a greater degree than any other ancient people. the careful regulation of ceremony. They were not purely devoted to the worship and culture of beauty like the Greeks and their art was not perfect. courage. careful conservatism. the Christian virtues. a keener sense of ethical & social balance. cold. pity. narrow and without any touch of the spirit in man or the sense of his divine individuality. they gave play therefore to personal individuality but restrained and ordered its merely lawless ebullitions by the law of the type (caste). unselfishness. faithfulness to duty. philanthropy. They had in full measure the Roman discipline. the characteristics of origination and organization which distinguished the Chinese. They had discovered the truth that morality is not for its own sake. On the ethical side they had a finer justice than the Greeks. purity. but they would not limit the infinite capacities of the soul. love of and self-sacrifice for all living things. And they were developed.The Karmayogin 221 full measure the sense of filial duty. In addition to these various elements which they shared with one civilization or another they possessed a higher spiritual ideal which governed & overrode the mere ethics (mores or customary morality) which the other nations had developed. because the Aryan Rishis had been able to discover the truth of the Eternal and give to the nation the vision of the Eternal in all things and the feeling of His presence in themselves and in all around them. the modern virtues were fully developed in India at a time when in all the rest of the world they were either non-existent or existent only in the most feeble beginnings.

the next four provide its philosophical justification and of these four the first two express in a few phrases the Vedantic philosophy of God and Cosmos as a necessary preliminary to the formation of a true and permanent ethical ideal. . others a natural evolution of man in the direction of his highest faculties. The Hindus perceived that it was all these at once but they discovered that the law with which the soul must put itself in relation was the law of the Eternal Self. The close dependence of ethical ideals on the fundamental philosophy of the Eternal and Real to which they go back.222 Isha Upanishad: Part Two by which the limited human self must become fit to raise itself out of the dark pit of bodily. From this all Hindu ethics proceeds. Therefore the Upanishad when it has to set forth an ethical rule or ethical 2 The last six sentences of this paragraph. Some hold the aim of morality to be a placing of oneself in harmony with the eternal laws that govern the Universe. by a certain spirit in action. Brahman. is a law which the ancient Yogins had well understood. They seem to have been intended for insertion here. This way of Works is Karmayoga and Karmayoga therefore depends on the Hindu conception of Brahman. that man’s nature must seek its fulfilment in that which is permanent & eternal in the Universe and that it is to which his evolution moves. mental and emotional selfishness into the clear heaven of universal love and benevolence and enlarge itself until it came into conscious contact. others hold it to be the fulfilment under self-rule and guidance of man’s nature. the Transcendent Self and its relations to the Universe. — Ed.2 Chapter I. They discovered that his higher self was the Self of his Universe and that by a certain manner of action. man escaped from his limitations and realised his higher Self. The first four verses of the Upanishad have given the general principle of Karmayoga. beginning “They had discovered the truth”. entered into and became one with the Supreme and Sempiternal Self. were written separately.

“There is One and It unmoving is swifter than thought. so. therefore. The unimaginable Presence which is manifest in the infinite variety of the Universe. by its rapidity of motion.The Karmayogin 223 ideal or intellectual attitude towards life. all activity is motion. is alone and alone Is. to create. one Reality in apparent multiplicity. there seem to be not four blades or two. Not only does He surround and sustain as the supreme Will by which and in which alone all things exist. The variety of things is in fact merely the variety of forms which the play or energy of the Will only seems.” There is only One existence. The first principles of Karmayoga arise from the realization of the Eternal as a great and divine Presence which pervades and surrounds all things. It is the motion of the play of Will. so when the blades of an electric fan go whirling with full velocity. ’tis in This that Matariswan setteth the waters. standing still It passes others as they run. With the declaration of the Eternal as the Universal and Omnipresent Lord the Upanishad must. begin. takes care to preface it with that aspect of the Eternal Reality on which its value and truth depend. when Shiva in His mood begins His wild dance and tosses His arms abroad. so that it is impossible to direct one’s thought. It moves. It is far. This Isha whose Energy vibrates through the worlds. It moveth not. round & round. it is the velocity of His Energy vibrating on the surface of His own existence which seems to create multiplicity. also. but He is really the immutable and secret Self in all things which is ultimately Parabrahman. speech or actions to thing or person without directing them to Him. All this apparently stable universe is really in a state of multifold motion. everything is whirling with . the same It is also outside everyone. the same It is near. Now it is about to take a step farther & set forth the ideal of the Karmayogin and the consummation of his yoga. is really the motionless and ineffable Tranquillity towards which the Yogins & the sages strive. It preludes the new train of thought by identifying Isha the Lord with Parabrahman the Eternal and Transcendent Reality. It is within everyone. All creation is motion. the gods could not reach It moving in front. but a whole score. He seems to have not two arms but a million.

t mnso jvFyo. He is at the same time in the Sun and here. While we are toiling after Him. the forms and things His Energy has evolved. is not running but standing. He outstrips others as they run. He has not therefore to move any more than a man has to move in order to pass from one thought to another. He is all the time here. the lords of the mind & senses cannot reach Him. the mind. cannot keep pace with the velocity of the cosmic stir. because neither here nor the Sun are outside Himself. in us. they think that He too moves. at our side. far beyond the farthest flights of thought itself. But we in order to realise His creative activity have to follow Him from the Sun to the Earth and from the Earth to the Sun. His presence pervading us like the ether. for He rushes far in front. “Standing still. The Gods in their swiftest movements. just as a man in a railway-train has a sensitory impression . and even thought which is the swiftest thing we know. Material senses quail before the thought of the wondrous stir and stupendous unimaginable activity that the existence of the Universe implies. with us. we cannot dissociate from Brahman and must needs attribute the limitations of our own thought to Him. this sensitory impression of a space covered and a time spent. The eye. nothing material can reach or conceive the inconceivable creative activity of this Will which is Brahman. and this motion of our limited consciousness. before us. for Avidya by persuading us to imagine ourselves limited. We try to follow Him pouring as light through the solar system and lo! while you are striving He is whirling universes into being far beyond reach of eye or telescope. the ear. And all this motion.224 Isha Upanishad: Part Two inconceivable rapidity in its own orbit. And yet all the time He does not really move. behind us. who are running and because He outstrips them. Space & Causality and confines us in them as in a prisoning wall beyond which our thoughts cannot escape. clothing us like a garment. It is the others. Brahman in all His creative activity is really standing still in His own being outside and inside Time & Space.” It is our mind & senses that are running and this universal motion is the result of the Avidya to which they are subject. creates the conditions of Time. All the time He who outstrips all others. all this ever evolving cosmos and universe is Brahman the Eternal.

the Real Man in us and in the world. the theatre. unconditioned. Energy. And according as a man comes nearer to the truth of Him or loses himself in Him. their Creator who has no part in their actions. He is the motionless and silent spectator of a drama of which He himself is the stage. The Purusha. this which mind & senses cannot reach. But what really is this Will which as Purusha watches the motion and the drama and as Prakriti is the motion and the drama? It is the One motionless. the unmanifest Parabrahman. while of Isha. who sits there a silent witness. is It. that something is the motionless. The stir of the Cosmos is really the stir of our own minds. it speaks as He. Rosalind and Jacques and Viola. Will. the Lord. The spiritual entity does not work. this which stands still & yet outstrips others as they run is It. What we envisage as the manifested Brahman is. the one . the play of Prakriti for Purusha. and yet even that is a mere phenomenon. What we call mind is simply one play of the Will sporting with the idea of multiplicity which is. so will be his spiritual condition. for Isha as Purusha is the male or spiritual presence which generates forms in Prakriti the female or material Energy. the actors and the acting. This is the mystery of the world and its paradox and yet its plain and easy truth.The Karmayogin 225 that everything is rushing past him and the train is still. This which without moving is swifter than thought. it is the material Energy. Hamlet and the murderous Uncle. the manifestation of Spirit. but merely is and has a result. which works or ceases from work. Eventually however Spirit and Matter are merely aspects of each other & of something which is behind both. being beyond mark and feature. the idea of motion. the Upanishad speaks always as It. While we think of Him as Isha. the scenery. actionless It. in His reality to Himself. are all merely the manifestation of that unmanifested It. Isha. He is the poet Shakespeare watching Desdemona and Othello. all himself and yet not himself. for it moves far in front. is It. and yet without Him not one of them could exist. inexpressible Parabrahman of whom. and all the other hundred multiplicities of himself acting and talking and rejoicing and suffering. It is only in His reality to us that He is the manifested Brahman. is really unmoving. in form.

liberation and development of something that is latent and potentially exists. This nature is determined by the balance in its composition of the three gunas or essential qualities of Prakriti. for we depart utterly from Oneness & difference and no longer envisage the world of phenomena at all. passivity. Spiritual Evolution in Brahman It is in this infinitely motionless. When we realize Isha as one with Parabrahman. yet infinitely moving Brahman that Matariswan or Prana. the great Breath of things. decay and death. What in Europe is called creation. and every separate & particular existence. disposes forms and solidities rescuing them out of the undifferentiated state from which the world arose. which differentiates it from others of its kind. the Aryan sages preferred to call srishti. that is its swadharma. that is the beginning of Yoga. she selects the limited out of the unlimited. the particular out of the general. that is the cessation of Yoga. activity .226 Isha Upanishad: Part Two in innumerable aspects. the idea of Oneness has sway & rules. Chapter II. Creation means the bringing into existence of something which does not already exist. that is the culmination of Yoga. the small portion out of the larger stock. projection of a part from the whole. that is Nirvana. develops under the law of its nature. its own law & religion of being. the mighty principle of Life. When we realize Parabrahman Itself. The action of Prakriti proceeds upon the principle of selection leading naturally to development. the selection. This limited. srishti the manifestation of something which is hidden and unmanifest. the idea of difference remains though it can be subordinated to the idea of Oneness. It cannot follow a nature or accept a dharma alien to itself except on peril of deterioration. whether inanimate thing or animal or man or community or nation must follow & develop itself under the law of its nature and act according to its own dharma. To understand these two verses it is necessary to grasp clearly the ideas of creation & evolution which the Upanishads seek to formulate. particular & fractional having by the very nature of limitation a swabhav. an ownbeing or as it is called in English a nature.

the great Illusion. Thus [the] necessity of absorbing mental and aesthetic food for the material of one’s works. She is that impalpable indeterminable source of subtle and gross matter. It must always be remembered that Prakriti is no other than Avidya. in the intellectual eagerness to absorb the minds of others and the aesthetic desire to possess or enjoy the beauty of things & persons. in the spiritual passion of love & beneficence. the impression of Time. and from desire & the contact with other existences there arise the two opposite forces of attraction and repulsion which on the moral plane are called liking and dislike. in the mind as well as in the body. So out of the primal consciousness of Will dealing with matter . the idea of difference and duality. and all other activity which means the drawing of the self of others into one’s own self and pouring out of oneself on others. creative man and the calm. love and hatred. Desire is thus the first principle of things.The Karmayogin 227 and equipoise. The instinct of self-enlargement shows itself in the physical craving for the absorption of other existences to strengthen oneself. in the emotional yearning to other beings. close or airy. Matter in the abstract. the active. Space and Causality. but by walls of Avidya which shut it in and give it an impression of existence separate from that of the illimitable. this too is hunger. in human soul as the brutal animal. Under the force of attraction and repulsion hunger begins to differentiate itself & develop the various senses in order the better to master its food and to feel & know the other existences which repel or attract it. just as a room is shut off from the rest of the house by walls and has its separate existence and its separate nature small or large. Break down the walls and the separate existence and separate nature disappear. The sense of limitation and the consequent impulse towards development & self-enlargement immediately create desire which takes the form of hunger and so of a reaching after other existences for the satisfaction of hunger. The limited is limited not in reality. which reveal themselves under different shapes in the animate as well as the inanimate. In matter they appear as passive reception. the very idea of a room is lost and there is nothing left but the house. coloured white or coloured blue. clear-souled god. reaction and retention.

how he is affected in detail by the laws of external nature and what is the rule of his thought and action in things physical & psycho-physical whether as an individual or in masses. the whole evolution of the phenomenal world arises. is also the fundamental idea of the modern theory of Evolution. Creation therefore is not a making of something where nothing existed. it has sought to know how man as a reasoning animal developed into what he is. vitality. Hindu thought. But it was not in this aspect of the law of creation that the old Hindu thought interested itself. it is simply crystallizing the one general idea on which the whole of Indian thought takes its stand and to which the whole tendency of modern science returns. not an arbitrary manufacture. In the Aitareya Upanishad we find a luminous hint of the evolution of various animal forms until in the course of differentiation by selection the body of man was developed as a perfect temple for the gods and a satisfactory instrument for sensational. discriminating mind. selection. has made it its business to investigate the possibilities of man’s escape from the animal and physical condition. on the contrary. When the Swetaswatara sums up the process of creation in the pregnant formula “One seed developed into many forms”. but an orderly development. but a selection and new formation out of existing material. receptive mind. liberation and development. Outside the limits of this inquiry it has been sceptical or indifferent. The theory of Evolution is foreshadowed in the Veda. Out of this one method of Prakriti. The opening of the Brihadaranyakopanishad powerfully foreshadows the theory that hunger & the struggle for life (ashanaya mrityu) are the principle agents in life-development. but a continual rearrangement and substitution. not a sudden increase. The idea of creation as a selection and development from preexisting material which is common to the Upanishads & the Sankhya philosophy. but nowhere clearly formulated.228 Isha Upanishad: Part Two is developed form and organism. intellectual and spiritual evolution. from his subjection to the laws of external nature and from his apparent limitations as a mere . Egoism. Modern Science has made it its business to investigate and master the forces and laws of working of the physical world.

spirit in its fourth or transcendental state. immutable and supra-conscious. because as yet phenomena and activity are not manifest but preexist gathered-together and undeveloped. the other to the single and eternal verity of things. intellectually unknowable and indefinable. psychical and elemental evolution. just as leaf and twig. just as all the infinite potentialities of organic life upon earth preexist gathered-together and undeveloped in the protoplasm. the relation of the various parts of his psychical anatomy to each other. indivisible. root and flower and fruit preexist. the beginning of all things is the Turiya Atman. This Turiya Atman may be imaged as the infinite ocean of spirit which evolves in itself spiritual manifestations and workings by that process of limitation or selection on which all creation or manifestation depends. sap and pith and bark. trunk and branches. in which the conceptions of finity and division preexist in a potential state and in which consciousness is selfgathered and as yet inoperative. and the law of his thought and action as a spiritual being having one side of itself turned to phenomena and this transient life in society and the world. Its province has been the psychical and spiritual world. or the seed-condition or the condition of absolute Sleep. The State of Sleep may be envisaged as Eternal Will and Wisdom on the brink of creation. the development of sun & star and nebula and the shining constellations and the wheeling orbits of satellite and planet. This state of Spirit is called variously Avyakta. Spiritually. infinite. the formation of . gatheredtogether and undeveloped in the seed.The Karmayogin 229 creature of surroundings & sensational impact from outside. with the predestined evolution of a million universes. the ancient Rishis arrived at what they believed to be the fundamental laws respectively of spiritual. the unmanifestation. but rather with what is vital & elemental in the matter of which he is made. Speculating and experimenting on these psychical and spiritual relations. By this Turiya Atman there is conceived or there is selected out of its infinite capacity a state of spirit less unknowable and therefore less indefinable. the law of the workings of the breath and the elemental forces within him. It has not concerned itself minutely with man’s physical sheath.

psychical manifestation and other operations in subtle matter are in comparison volatile. Condition and Space. Energy of Light. and creating thought-forms to clothe the abundant variety of its multitudinous imaginations. slow and confined by walls within walls. before Time was or Space existed or Causality began. Spirit in the Waking State is called Vaisvanor. is the pure psychical or Dream State in which Spirit is in a condition of ceaseless psychical activity imagining. the motions and actions of fish and bird and beast and the infinite spiritual. Spirit in the middle or DreamState is called Taijasa or Hiranyagarbha. The next state of Spirit. For this reason while physical workings are fixed. evolved out of Prajna. Embryon. This State of Dream may be envisaged as Eternal Will and Energy in the process of creation with the whole activity of the Universe teeming and fructuating within it. willing. the Wise One or He who knows and orders things beforehand. The Dream-State is the psychical condition of Spirit and operates in a world of subtle matter finer and more elastic than gross physical matter and therefore not subject to the heavy restrictions and slow processes with which the latter is burdened. the Shining Embryon. colour and light predominating over fluid or solid form. audible & sensible form and life.230 Isha Upanishad: Part Two metals and the life of trees. reacting more elastically against the pressure of Time. He who informs and supports all forms of energy in this physical universe. it is that psychical matrix out of which physical form and life are evolved and to which in sleep it partially returns so that it may recuperate and drink in a fresh store of psychical energy to support the heavy strain of physical processes in gross matter. selecting out of the matter which Prajna provides. pre-arranged and preexistent. rapid and free. and arrives at last at an appearance of firm stability & solidity in gross matter. for . Spirit in this state of Sleep is called Prajna. and Hiranya the Shining because in psychical matter luminous energy is the chief characteristic. thought. It is Garbha. mental and physical stir & activities of man already pre-ordained. because out of psychical matter physical life and form are selected and evolved into the final or Waking State in which Spirit manifests itself as physically visible. It is Taijasa. the Universal Male.

whether he is not merely an animal body with an exceptional brain-evolution. from self-existent. master or employ psychical organs. such as the development of delusions. In other words each new condition of Spirit. Like the Cosmos therefore each individual man has been created by the evolution of Spirit from its pure essence through the three states of Sleep. hallucinations. man realizes himself as a body moving among and affected by other bodies and he readily understands. In the physical condition.The Karmayogin 231 it is a root idea of Hindu philosophy that Spirit is the Male which casts its seed into Matter and Matter the female Energy which receives the seed and with it creates and operates. has overlaid and obscured its predecessor. Man has not yet discovered his soul. as it evolved. Each part of the Universe is therefore a little Universe in itself repeating under different conditions and in different forms the nature and operations of the wider Cosmos. — so difficult that he has come to be sceptical of the existence of the psychical and doubt whether he is a soul at all. physical processes and physical forces. masters and employs physical organs. eccentricities. mania and disease side by side with the development of genius or exceptional mental & spiritual powers in family or individual. Dream and Waking. but simply the positive and negative poles in the creative operation of the All-Self or Universal which evolves in Itself and out of Itself the endless procession of things. All things in the Universe are of one texture & substance and subject to a single law. Spirit and Matter are not different entities. Every individual man must be in little what the Cosmos is in large. self-delighting God into the reasoning animal. which is the ultimate term of the downward evolution. he has descended spiritually from pure Spirit into physical matter. existence is a fundamental unity under a superficial diversity. But this evolution has been a downward evolution. In his present state any evolution of the psychical force within is attended with extraordinary disturbances of the physical instruments. his main energies have been directed towards realizing and mastering the physical world in which he moves. . but he finds it difficult to understand. selfknowing. psychical processes and psychical forces.

the dream-state and the waking-state. he must turn his efforts towards mastering the world within himself. In the end he will be master of spirit. then. as some are beginning dimly to perceive. the causal self. even when he admits the existence of the soul. consciousness and bliss. man will find that there is another & deeper self which is overlaid and obscured by the psychical. spirit in its turn obscures & overlays the pure self from which & towards which the circle of evolution moves. When he has mastered. soul overlays & obscures spirit. spirit. At present. when the earth is his and the fullness thereof. there are three spirit-states. that Eternal Will & Wisdom which at present operates in secrecy. the soul within him which has all along been using the body for its own ends on the physical plane. Instead of allowing the soul to use the body for its own ends. Body has overlaid and obscured soul. It is in this direction that the future of human evolution lies. soul and body. as in the course of his evolution he must master. veiled with darkness within darkness and seeming even to be blind and hidden from itself. he sees nothing beyond his psychical self and speaks of soul and spirit as if they were identical. — the Sleepworld within or as it is called.232 Isha Upanishad: Part Two It is indeed. but the soul has been working from behind the veil. Creation. the sleep-state. The Waking-State has overlaid and obscured the Dream-State. the psychical world within him. When man has mastered the physical world and its forces. Chapter III. soul and body. Psychical evolution — downward to matter In their enquiry into the spiritual nature of man the ancient thinkers and Yogins discovered that he has not only three spiritual states but three bodies or cases of matter corresponding . he must learn to master both soul and body and use them consciously for the purposes of the spirit. has been a downward evolution which has for its object to create a body fit for an upward evolution into the region of pure spirit. a Jivanmukta using them at will for cosmic purposes or transcending them to feel his identity with the Self who is pure and absolute existence. unrealized and unseen. In reality.

When he dies. from which the material universe is evolved. With the evolution of the Dream-State matter also evolves from the causal into the subtle. it must in the nature of things evolve also a form or body and a medium through and in which Spirit in that condition can manifest itself. a subtle body for his Dream-State or psychical self and a gross body for his Waking-State or physical self. a condition compound. therefore. in other words. in the ordinary view. Death. As soon as the Sleep-State appears. When phenomena are transcended we come to a Self independent of Spirit or Matter. is a delivery from matter. Spirit and matter. what happens is simply the disintegration of the physical body and the return of the Waking into the Dream-State from which it was originally projected. — the material seed state. Spirit surrounds itself with matter in that most refined & least palpable condition. are the two necessary terms of this existence. single and elemental in its nature. the inner inspiring presence and outward acting substance-energy. He has therefore a causal body for his Sleep-State or causal self. The Waking-State having disappeared . It is only when the Waking-State is evolved that matter concentrates into that gross physical condition which is all that Science has hitherto been able to analyse and investigate. In man also as in the larger Cosmos each spiritual State lives in and uses its corresponding medium of matter and out of that matter shapes for itself its own body or material case. Matter. Directly. but the moment Self descends into phenomenal existence. the pure transcendent Self evolves one aspect of itself as a definable spiritual condition. divisible and capable of definite form but too fine to be perceived by ordinary physical senses. This was in accordance with the nature of phenomenal existence as determined by their inquiries. it must necessarily create for itself a form or body and a medium in which it manifests and through which it acts. evolves coevally and coincidently with Spirit.The Karmayogin 233 to the spiritual states. body is destroyed and only spirit or soul remains: but this view is rejected by Hindu philosophy as an error resulting from confused and inadequate knowledge of man’s psychical nature. to which the name of causal matter may be given.

The Will to know eternal reality is balanced by the Will to know phenomenal diversity. it is this dream-state in the subtle body to which the name soul or spirit is popularly given. the Will to absolute delight by the Will to phenomenal delight. The Self first manifests as Will or as the Rishis preferred to call it Ananda. take the form of desires. that phenomenal existence with its necessary duality of Spirit-Matter is left behind and transcended. it does not follow that no body is left. the Will to be phenomenally and the Will to be transcendentally. It is only when the Sleep-State is also transcended. but it has a double tendency. Delight. Even the disintegration of the subtle body and the return of the Dream-State into the Sleep-State from which it was projected. Will must be clearly distinguished from volition which is only one of the operations of Will acting in phenomena. the Will to live and the Will to cease from phenomenal life. the physical body must necessarily disintegrate since it has no longer a soul to support it and keep naturally together the gross material atoms out of which it is constructed. Volition is . Bliss. Ananda is the pure delight of existence and activity and may be identified in one of its aspects with the European Will-to-live. But because the physical body is destroyed or dropped off. The basis of psychical as of spiritual existence is the pure Self called the Paramatman or Supreme Self when it manifests in the Cosmos and the Jivatman or individual Self when it manifests in man. The impacts from external things upon the mind result in sensations and the reactions of the Will upon these sensations when conveyed to it. for the causal body would still remain. In examining and analysing these spiritual conditions in their respective bodies the Rishis arrived at a theory of psychical evolution contained within and dependent on the spiritual evolution already described. It is also the Will to know and the Will to enjoy and in each aspect the double tendency is repeated. Then spirit & body are both dissolved into pure and transcendent self-existence. would not imply a release from all restrictions of matter. Man goes on existing after death in his Dream-State and moves & acts with his subtle body.234 Isha Upanishad: Part Two into the Dream-State and no longer existing.

spiritually. is Buddhi or Supra-intelligence. which by reception of external impacts & impressions evolves sensation. evolves the sense of individuality. creating and operating on phenomena in subtle matter evolves Mind. But the Will itself is antecedent to mind and intelligence and all the operations of body. the DreamState and operate absolutely and directly in the subtle body but indirectly. an energy which is above mind and reason and acts independently of any cerebral organ. It is Will acting through the Supra-intelligence that guides the growth of the tree and the formation of the animal and gives to all things in the Universe the appearance of careful and abundant workmanship and orderly arrangement from which the idea of an Almighty Artificer full of fecund and infinite imaginations has naturally grown up in the human mind. Mind & Supra-intelligence with reason as an intermediate link are. spiritually. The next evolutionary form of Will. under limitations and as a governing and directing force in the gross body. evolves desire and activity.The Karmayogin 235 simply the impulse of the Will operating through the intelligence to satisfy or curb the desires created in the medium between itself and the mind. but indirectly & under limitations in the subtle & gross bodies as the cause of all thought. Will. by individual arrangement of impressions and reactions with the aid of memory evolves understanding. and by the action of supra-intelligence on developed mind evolves reason. through Buddhi. by coordination of impressions & reactions memorized. but from the point of view of the Vedanta Will and Supra-Intelligence are not attributes of an anthropomorphic Deity endowed with a colossal brain but aspects of a spiritual presence manifesting itself cosmically in phenomenal existence. . mind and intelligence are ultimately operations of material energy ordained by the Will. Self manifesting as Will or Bliss is. by reaction to impressions received. the Sleep-State and operates absolutely & directly in the Causal body as the creative force behind Nature. evolves memory. action and feeling. put forth by itself from itself as an instrument or operative force in the creation of the worlds. by retention of impressions with their reactions.

So far however the Mind acts with rapidity and directness under the comparatively light restrictions of subtle matter in the Dream State. smell. utterance. it is a psychical sense. emission and ecstasy. it is justified in denying the immortality of the soul.236 Isha Upanishad: Part Two So far spirit and soul only have been evolved. as the eleventh. But in Mind Will has evolved a grand primal sense by which it is able to put itself into conscious relations with external objects. Mind is in a way the one true and real sense. and. it is Mind that sees. Mind that hears. by which it reacts on what it receives. before the development of mind it has been operating by methods of self-contained consciousness through the supraintelligence. Science is justified in coming to this conclusion. which is alone self-acting and introspective. it follows that when physical life ceases with the arrest of bodily operations by the mysterious agency . This theory directly contradicts those conclusions of modern Science which make soul an evolution of physical life and activities. making up the ten indriyas with the Mind. sight. but merely their temporary efflorescence and dependent on them for its existence. for Will in the Waking State acts mainly through them and not directly through the Mind. as a logical corollary. grasp. locomotion. but for the purposes of varied experience Mind evolves from itself ten potencies. and for each of these potencies it evolves an instrument of potency or sense-organ. Mind that acts. the evolution of the Will has not manifested itself in physical forms. For if psychical activities are merely a later and temporary operation of physical life and dependent on the physical for their own continuance. touch and taste by which the Will receives impressions of external objects and five potencies of action. five potencies of knowledge. an instrument of the soul for knowing and dealing with life in the psychical world of subtle matter. not an all-important and enduring evolution. hearing. Soul-evolution precedes physical evolution. Mind that smells. Only in the physical evolution of gross matter do the sense-organs receive their consummate development and become of supreme importance. Arguing from the facts of physical evolution which alone it has studied and excluding all possibilities outside this limit. Mind that feels.

In this. it spurs it to the satisfaction of its needs & desires. When the body dies. differentiates and enriches its activity with a more splendid opulence until the crescendo reaches its highest note in man. Prana manifests itself in five distinct vital powers. desires. It is present in what seems inert and inanimate no less than in what is manifestly endowed with life. Prana exists in the physical state also. Samana. human personality which is a psychical activity must also come to an end. It is the mainspring of every hunger-impulse and presides over every process of alimentation. It is physical life that is an evolution from psychical. It lives concealed in the metal and the sod. It claims to have discovered means of investigating psychical life as thoroughly as Science can investigate physical nature and in the light of its investigations it declares that soul exists before body and outlasts it. To all this Hindu thought gives a direct denial. Prana is the agent of Will in all physical evolution. the noblest type of physical evolution.The Karmayogin 237 of death. the soul dies also. Prana in gross matter is an all-pervading energy which subsists wherever there is physical existence and is the principle agent in maintaining existence and furthering its activities. Body is the stem. it can no more outlast the body than the flower can outlast the plant on which it grows or a house survive the destruction of its foundations. body the foundation. body the fragile and transient superstructure. soul the stem. and no more than a later and temporary operation of psychical activities. undifferentiated. Vyana. to which the names. gathered up in mind and not acting as a separate agent. and it evolves the means and superintends and conducts the processes of that satisfaction. For the purposes of physical evolution Will evolves a new aspect of itself which is called Prana or vital energy. but there it is simple. it fills it with vital needs. vibrates with an ever swifter and more complex energy. Prana. soul the flower. Apana and Udana have been given by the ancient writers. the . soul a light and temporary superstructure. soul is the foundation. In the course of evolution it reveals itself with an ever-rounding fulness. it begins to emerge in the plant. longings. It creates life. Body is the flower. it reveals itself in the animal. Prana.

and no formula could express more pregnantly and tersely the fundamental law of all phenomenal activity especially on the physical plane. This body once found it is continually eating up by the ceaselessness of its vital activity and has to repair its own ravages by continually drawing in external substances to form fresh material for an ever-wasting and ever-renewing frame. As Prana is the first term in the physical evolution of the Self. so Anna. it devours external substances so as to provide itself with the requisite material. This hungry Prana first needs to build up a body in which it can subsist and in order to do so. Prana is the regent of the body. its root-impulse. on it depends the circulation of the blood and the distribution of the essential part of the food eaten and digested throughout the body. Vyana pervades the whole body. Unable to preserve its body for ever under the exhausting stress of its own activity. Udana is the vital power which connects bodily life with the spiritual element in man. it has to procreate fresh forms which will continue vital activity and for the purpose concentrates itself in a part of its material which it throws out of . the indrawing and the outdrawing of the breath and the induction of food. situated in the lower part of the trunk. seated centrally in the body. Samana. especially over the emission of such parts of the food as are rejected by the body and over procreation. the Will. The fundamental principle of vitality is hunger and all gross matter forms the food with which Prana satisfies this. equalizes and harmonizes the vital operations and is the agent for the assimilation of food. ministering to the Mind and through that great intermediary executing the behests of the concealed sovereign of existence. presides over the lower functions. “I am food that devours the eater of food” says the Taittiriya Upanishad. Food or gross visible matter is the second term. so also in the motional and volitional Prana is still the great agent of Will. and conducts such operations of Mind also as depend on the sense-organs for their instruments. balances.238 Isha Upanishad: Part Two vital force par excellence has its seat in the upper part of the body and conducts all mental operations. Apana. As in the purely vital operations. Hence the universality of the struggle for life. it is intimately connected with the processes of decay and death.

until the last state of the Self appears to be an inert brute and inanimate condition of gross physical matter devoid of life. Chapter IV. it develops the five potencies of action and evolves the active organs which enable them to work. From this state of inert and lifeless matter the upward evolution starts and. To satisfy its hunger it is ever evolving fresh means and new potencies for mastery & seizure of its food.The Karmayogin 239 itself to lead a similar but independent life even after the parent form decays. — the last term of that downward evolution which is the descent of Spirit from the original purity of absolute existence into the impurity and multiplicity of matter. the Waking-State and operate entirely in gross matter. to prolong itself for the purposes of the Will-to-live of which it is the creature and the servant. Psychical Evolution — Upward to Self. Vitality and physical form are. At the base of all is the impulse of Life to survive. as in the downward spiritual evolution. satisfying desire. as in our spiritual evolution the course set down for us is to recover from a firm footing in the Waking State mastery over the obscured and latent Dream and Sleep States and so return into the presence of that pure and unimaginable Self from whom the process of our evolution began. satisfying hunger. each succeeding and newly-evolved state of the original Self obscures and overlays that which preceded it. it develops the power & evolves various means of locomotion. so in our psychical evolution we have to recover . Prana & Anna. spiritually. To perceive its food more & more thoroughly & rapidly it develops the five senses and evolves the organs of perception through which they can act. As a centre of all this sensational and actional activity it evolves the central mind-organ in the brain and as channels of communication between the central & the outer organs it develops a great nerve-system centred in seven plexuses. mental consciousness or spiritual possibilities. Dissatisfied with the poor sustenance a stationary existence can supply. through which it moves with a ceaseless stir and activity. In this downward psychical evolution. To deal successfully with the food perceived. satisfying lust.

in a substance so apparently inanimate as metal. — surely a crude and unscientific limitation. reception of & reaction to outward impressions and the phenomena of vigour and exhaustion. Will until we know our infinite and eternal Self who is one with the Supreme Self of the Universe. The term is sometimes rigidly confined to animal life. a mysterious thing called Life entered or began to stir and all this mighty evolution we have discovered became in a moment possible. is in a sense a divine mystery but no more and no less so than the existence of inanimate matter. Or if we confine life to organic growth. So obscure is the whole subject that many are inclined to regard life as a divine mystery. as if it were a sort of psychical meteoric dust. perhaps from some unknown source. we do so arbitrarily. God did not breathe it from outside into an inert and created body. from some other planet. Into this inanimate world at some unknown period. animate .240 Isha Upanishad: Part Two out of the inertia of gross physical materiality Life. since the peculiarities of animal life. but life itself we cannot explain nor can we discover as yet how it came originally into being. it would say. We can only suppose that life is some chemical process or develops from some chemical process we shall ultimately discover. Grant one infinitesimal seed of life and everything else becomes possible. breathed by God into the world or introduced. no apparent possibility of the evolution of animate conscious existence. Life. the one which forms the very basis of consciousness. for recent discoveries have shown the beginning of one element of vital activity. has not been satisfactorily settled. but in inanimate matter there is no evidence of life or mind or spirit. With inanimate matter the world began. SupraIntelligence. viz. — consciousness and organic growth —. Even what life is. Nor did it come into sudden being by some fortuitous chemical process which marked off suddenly all existences into two rigidly distinct classes. Upanishadic philosophy accounts for the appearance of Life in a more calm and rational manner. Mind. exist quite as evidently in the highest forms of plant-life as in the animalcule or the jelly-fish. by some unknown means. says evolutionary Science. neither did it drift hither from some mystic and superior planet.

Prana receives its perfect development in animal life and when man.The Karmayogin 241 and inanimate. but in the complete & triumphant liberation of mind out of the overlaying obscuration of the vital energies. In man the development is much more rapid and triumphant. Mind is dominated by the instruments which Prana has created for it. and the first step in evolution is the liberation of the latent life out of the heavy obscuration of matter in its grossest and densest forms. the nerve-system. has been reached. Just as Prana is involved in Anna and has to be evolved out of it. because it is already latent and preexistent in matter. organic and inorganic. the sense-organs. the highest term of animal life. complete or perfect. so Mind is involved in Prana and has to be evolved out of it. helping and enriching each other. and the two. irrational and inconsistent with the unity and harmonious development of the world under fixed and invariable laws. the . the first step has been taken towards the evolution of Mind. but a considerable degree of understanding and even the rudiments of reason. as the power of reacting on external objects becomes more pronounced and varied. but it is by no means. This evolution is effected by the three gunas. Prana still to an immense extent obscures Mind. organic life-growth begins its marvellous career. The moment Life begins to liberate itself from the obscuration of gross matter. consciousness slowly and laboriously develops. The true evolution of Man therefore lies not in the farther development of vitality. the gross body dominates the subtle. the highest animal forms below man seem to possess not only memory and individuality. evolve complete. We see the gradual development of Mind in animal evolution. retention and reaction to outward impacts. when carefully examined. Prana is involved in anna. the triple principle of reception. matter cannot exist without latent life. the body. well-organized and richly-endowed Life. as fresh forms of matter are evolved in which the power of retaining impacts received in the shape of impressions becomes more and more declared. All such ideas are. Life is evolved naturally and not mysteriously out of matter itself. there is no farther need for its development. as yet.

will admit of the extreme and unhampered perfection of his intellectual. moral and spiritual being. He must discover and practise some method of maintaining the harmony and soundness of the vital and bodily instruments and processes without for a moment allowing the care for them to restrict the widest possible range. lusts. the insistent urgency of the senses towards the external world impede the turning of the energies inward. To see where the physical eye is blind. in its intellectual and spiritual tendencies. to hear where the physical ear is deaf. the most bold and powerful exercise and the most intense and fiery energisms of which the higher principle in his being is capable. the continual siege of external impressions distract it. to understand thoughts . is apt to be resented by the vital part of man and to impair or seriously disturb his vital energies and physical health. Along with the intellectual development of the race. Moral and spiritual development is continually at war with the needs of our physical life. to feel where the physical sense is callous. desires. He must learn how to transcend the limitations and errors of the physical senses and train his mind to act even in the physical body with the rapidity. while satisfying the legitimate demands of his body and his vital impulses. calm and purity. He must arrive at some arrangement of his social and individual life which. The continual stir of the vital energies in the brain and throughout the whole system. directness and unlimited range proper to a psychical organ whose function is to operate in subtle as well as in gross matter. It is therefore towards the conquest and control of Prana and the free development of Mind that the energies of Man ought in future to be directed. concentration and introspection are rendered so difficult that the majority of men do not attempt them or only compass them spasmodically and imperfectly. longings and the insistent urgency of the instincts of selfpreservation and self-gratification. for the Mind is bound within the narrow circle of their activity and limited by their deficiencies. there has been a marked deterioration of vital vigour & soundness and of the bodily organs. disturb the Mind. Any powerful and unusual development of mind.242 Isha Upanishad: Part Two brain hamper and hinder its operations even more than they help them. our hungers.

We think we have done wonders in the way of mental evolution. but they must be exercised. whose infinite delight in its own existence is lifted far beyond the thraldom of pain and pleasure and uses them with as unalloyed a pleasure as the poet when he weaves joy and sorrow. so that Man may become master of the inner world no less than of the outer. and trained to turn itself wholly inward. the liberation of the Will involved in its operations will lead man to the highest evolution of all when he realizes himself as a potent and scient Will. he cannot fail to know his real Self. man will begin to evolve and realize himself as a mighty and infinite Intelligence. And when the evolution of Mind is complete and the evolution of Supra-Intelligence proceeds. imperfect and enslaved to desire and prejudice. As the mental development foreshadowed above proceeds to its goal. not limited by sense-perception or the laborious and clumsy processes of the reason. at present fallible. omnipotent and pure. the processes of which have been mastered and known. The Mind must be tranquillised and purified by control of the senses and the five Pranas. a conscious soul using the body and no longer a body governed by a self-concealing and self-guiding psychical entity. absolute and calm. The infinite possibilities of that evolution still lie unexplored in front. Reason. delight and pain and love and fear and horror into one perfect and pleasurable masterpiece or the painter when he mixes his colours and blends light and shade to create a wedded harmony of form and hue. are legitimate functions of the mind. some rudimentary beginnings have been unconsciously made towards the liberation of this higher & far grander force. but as a regular and consciously willed operation. in reality we have made no more than a feeble beginning. As Mind is involved in Prana.The Karmayogin 243 unexpressed. but capable of intuitive and infinite perception. With the evolution of the Mind. not as a rare power or in moments of supreme excitation. must be trained into its highest possibilities of clarity. This state of unfettered Will and infinite Delight once realized. excluding at will all outward impressions. . master of creation and not its slave. sanity and calm energy. so is Supra-Intelligence involved and latent in all the operations of Mind.

Purusha and Prakriti. We have seen that corresponding to this Eternal Wisdom. or as they are called in the terminology of the Sankhya philosophy. is the result of Purusha and Prakriti acting upon each other. Ananda or Will. that which lies concealed in the Vast of universal existence. it has also from the moment of its inception a material element. impelling force. there is a first psychic evolution. is not a working force in the sense that it itself carries on the operations of Nature. because throughout it is one Reality that is manifesting and not three. an inspiring psychical force in man & the cosmos which makes all the workings of Nature possible. Prakriti. We have seen that the first spiritual evolution from the pure selfexistent Atman is Prajna of the Sleep-State. Eternal Wisdom. it is an inspiring. material. the three evolutions are really one. psychical. a supporting spiritual presence which contains in itself the whole course of cosmic evolution even as a single seed contains in itself the complete banyan-tree with all its gigantic progeny. infinite and sempiternal. In the Parabrahman. underlying spiritual presence and superficially active material energy. even when operating as Will. whose function is to set in motion a powerful material energy of the Self. The whole of Evolution spiritual. VII. The .244 Isha Upanishad: Part Two the eternal Brahman in whom this evolution has its root and resting-place. and it is this material energy which under the inspiration of Will and at the bidding of Prajna sets about the evolution of the Cosmos. the absolute inconceivable Self. Elemental Evolution. Self in its dealings with the Cosmos is a dual entity. but the moment evolution begins Spirit and Matter manifest equally and coevally. but Matter also is an eternal entity. coincident and coeval. Self manifesting as soul. It is Self manifesting as spirit. Spirit and Matter are one and undifferentiated. active or operative energy thrown forward from the concealed spiritual source. Spirit however. Spirit exists from the beginning and was before any beginning. The evolution of the cosmos has not only spiritual and psychical aspects. — Purusha. Self manifesting as matter or body.

The . In the first stage of evolution Matter appears as an aspect or shadow of Spirit. in the last of the downward and first of the upward Spirit seems so densified as to appear identical with Matter. and that it is really one entity and not three which is evolving.The Karmayogin 245 three manifestations are coincident in Time and Space and each condition of phenomena is a triple state with Spirit and Matter for its extreme terms and Soul for its middle. For the essence of Condition being change from one state to another. as Hindu thought phrases it. This possibility of evolution from and involution into each other would not be conceivable if they were not in essence one entity. merely apparent changes in one unchanging reality. undifferentiated. is shown by the fact that while in the first stage of the downward evolution and the last of the upward Matter seems so refined as to appear identical with Spirit. undifferentiated and undeveloped. and each change standing in the relation of cause or origin to the one that follows it. but pregnant with the whole of material evolution. in the evolution of the causal. consciousness and bliss. From this indefinable noumenal condition of Prakriti the Self forms for its uses matter in its most refined and simple form. so original Matter has only three positive attributes. and we may legitimately deduce from the oneness of such diverse phenomena that they are no more than phenomena. Just as Spirit then has only three positive attributes. and like Spirit it is infinite. Condition. infinite and undefinable Time. unanalysable. infinite and undefinable existence. The three evolutions are dependent on each other. subtle and gross bodies Prakriti shapes itself so as to create the material out of which the psychical coverings of Self as spirit may be made and the medium in which the Self as soul may operate. Space and Causality — or. in the evolution of the psychic states Prakriti worked on by Purusha creates for the manifestations of Self as spirit psychic sheaths or coverings which will at the same time inform and support the manifestations of Self as matter. Condition and Causality become convertible terms. In the evolution of the spirit-states Purusha determines itself so as to inform and support the progressive manifestations of Self as soul and body.

the snake Ananta stirs and the first ever widening ripples are created on the surface of the waters that the actual evolution of matter has begun. for his couch. the first state or arrangement of matter and its essential principle. more complex motion evolves out of ether a somewhat intenser condition which is called Vayu. the eternal Purusha. cannot be resolved into substances simpler than themselves. But when Hindu philosophy speaks of the five elements. and so by ever more complex motion with increasing intensity of condition for result. Here it is necessary to enter a caution against possible misunderstandings to which the peculiar nomenclature used by the Rishis & the common rendering of tanmatra & bhuta by the English word elements may very easily give rise. When we speak of elements in English in a scientific sense. This did not seem to them to be an inquiry . which are not perceptible or analysable by chemical inquiry but underlie substances and forms as basic principles of material formation. The relation of Spirit and Matter in this causal or seed-state is admirably expressed in the Puranic image of Vishnu. Agni or Fire. The old thinkers accepted the atomic theory of the formation of objects and substances but they did not care to carry the theory farther and inquire by what particular combinations of atoms this or that substance came into being or by what variations and developments in detail bodies animate or inanimate came to be what they are. it is not dealing with substances at all but with elemental states or conditions of matter.246 Isha Upanishad: Part Two causal state is called by the Sankhyas Pradhana. asleep on the waveless causal ocean with the endless coils of the snake Ananta. Apah or Water and Prithivi or Earth. yet three other matter-states are successively developed. The first ripple or vibration in causal matter creates a new & exceedingly fine and pervasive condition of matter called akasha or ether. Air. those substances which when analysed by chemical processes. the Infinite. The sea of causal matter is then motionless and it is only when Vishnu awakes. These are the five tanmatras or subtle elements of Sankhya philosophy by the combination of which subtle forms in subtle matter are built. we always imply elemental substances.

they found a condition less dense which was at the basis of all fluid forms.The Karmayogin 247 of the first importance. they were content with laying down some main principles of material evolution and there they left the matter. Behind the solid condition of matter. subtle. they found. and last of all one finest and most pervasive condition of all which they called Akash or Ether. This they termed causal matter. Beyond subtle ether matter lost its subtle characteristics and lapsed into a new kind which they could not analyse but which seemed to be the matrix out of which all material evolution proceeded. behind the fluid condition. In its operations in . They saw that perpetual motion involving perpetual change was the fundamental characteristic of matter and that each new motion was attended by a new condition which stood to the immediately preceding condition in the relation of effect to cause or at least of a new birth to the matrix in which it had been enembryoed. In the course of this analysis they could not help perceiving that consciousness in each world of matter assumed a different form and acted in a different way corresponding to the characteristics of the matter in which it moved. This new world of matter they called subtle matter and analysed the subtle as they had analysed the gross until by a similar procession from denser to subtler they came to a finest condition of all which they described as subtle ether. Ether was. yet another and finer which was at the basis of all aerial or gaseous forms. But they were anxious to resolve not substances into their original atoms but matter into its original condition and so discover its ultimate relations to the psychical and spiritual life of man. another still less dense which was at the basis of all igneous or luminous forms. elastic and volatile than any of which the physical world is aware. Out of this subtle ether a whole world of subtle forms and energies are evolved which constitute psychical existence. the primary substance out of which all this visible Universe is evolved and beyond ether they were unable to go without matter losing all the characteristics associated with it in the physical world and lapsing into a quite different substance of which the forms and motions were much more vague. behind the igneous.

but worked if consciously.248 Isha Upanishad: Part Two gross matter the forms it assumed were more firm. His mental and intuitional processes were found to operate freely and perfectly in subtle matter. They considered therefore that man’s causal faculty or spiritual life belonged properly to the Sleep State and worked indirectly and through less & less easy mediums in the Dream and Waking States. in hampered & half effectual fashion when the subtle self acted through the gross and sub-consciously only in gross matter. In its operations in subtle matter the forms consciousness assumed were freer and more rapid. but in gross matter with a hampered and imperfect activity. Will-to-be or shaping Delight of existence: this. There remained the fundamental energy of consciousness. they could discover no other distinguishing sensation. elastic & swiftly mutable. they perceived. was free and pure in causal matter. as are the motions and acts of a man in a dreaming state compared to the activities of his waking condition. solid and durable but at the same time more slow. and they determined accordingly that his physical life was the result of consciousness working in the Waking State on gross matter. In causal matter they found that consciousness took the shape merely of the pure sense of blissful existence. This therefore they called the Sleep State. they considered therefore that man’s mental life belonged properly to the Dream State and only worked indirectly and under serious limitations in the Waking State. difficult and hampered. yet through a medium and under limitations in subtle matter. some to another of the three states of consciousness and its corresponding state of matter. They determined accordingly that mental life must be the result of Consciousness working in the Dream State on subtle matter. but more volatile. and accordingly determined that it must be the result of Consciousness working in the Sleep State . to consciousness acting on subtle matter the name of the Dream State. To consciousness acting on gross matter they gave therefore the name of the Waking State. They farther discovered that the various faculties and functions of man belonged properly some to one. His vital and physical functions operated only in gross matter. just as are the motions and acts of a man in his waking state as compared with what he does in his dreams.

— of phenomenal existence. Looking around them in the physical universe for a substance with these characteristics they found it in Akash or Vyom (sky). substances. It will be clear even from this brief and condensed statement of the Vedic analysis of existence that the elements of the Upanishad are not the elementary substances of modern chemistry but five general states of matter to which all its actual or substantial manifestations belong. not a literal value. was the pure aerial or gaseous. They refused however to accept any dualism in their cosmogony and. Sound. All the variety and evolutions of gaseous matter with their peculiar activities. It will also be clear that the names of the five elements have a conventional. is the first evolved property of material substance. the whole universe floats. They therefore gave this name. or what you will. immutable and sempiternal Self of things. This one entity is not analysable or intellectually knowable. increased differentiation and complexity of substance. functions and combinations have this second state or . regarded Spirit and Matter as essentially one and their difference as no more than an apparent duality in one real entity. yet it is alone the real. it precedes form and has the power both to create it and to destroy it. The whole of creation amounted therefore to a natural outcome from the mutual relations of Spirit and Matter. and psychical life only as one result of their interaction. but it may be as well to indicate why these particular names have been chosen. sound. as it were. according to the Vedic inquirers. as has been pointed out. Here to pervasiveness was added a new potency of sensible and varied motion bringing with it. these two they regarded as two terms — call them forces.The Karmayogin 249 on causal matter. The next matter-condition evolved from Ether and moving in it. as increased complexity of motion necessarily must do. energies. The first and original state of subtle matter is the pure ethereal of which the main characteristics are extreme tenuity and pervasiveness and the one sensible property. — the fine pervasive connecting substance in which. implying not our terrestrial atmosphere but that which is both beyond it and pervades it. to the ethereal condition of matter. Akash.

therefore. Wind or Air. formation and new-formation are at last in readiness. light and heat energy. sensible motion no longer the paramount characteristic. less pervasive than air. which we have seen to be so all-important an agent in the Vedic theory of the Cosmos. touch or contact. attains full development and creation and destruction. sensible by sound and contact. In addition to sound and contact matter has now evolved a third property. it is the basis also of that universal Prana or vital energy. and withdraws from the physical frame. which is also called Tejah. which could not be developed in pure Air owing to its insufficient density and the elusive vagueness and volatility of gaseous manifestations. then it is that Prana. retention and reaction and culminating in organized consciousness. Evolved out of the pure gaseous state and moving in it is the third or pure igneous condition of matter. In the igneous stage pervasiveness becomes still less subtle. the vital energy. for it is sensible by sound. Vayu. the Rishis found it in Vayu. which was not fully developed in pure ether owing to its extreme tenuity and primary simplicity of substance. contact and form and. but energy. The third power of matter is at the basis of all phenomena of light and heat and Prana by its aid so develops that birth and growth now become possible. Seeking for a physical substance gaseous in nature. is distinguished by the utmost energy of light and heat. In this second power of matter a new property of material substance is evolved. but without form and characterized chiefly by varied motion and an imperfect pervasiveness. The physical substance which seemed to the Rishis to typify the igneous state was fire. says the Upanishad. starting from action.250 Isha Upanishad: Part Two power of matter as their substratum. retires into mind. his subtle or psychical part. form. for light and heat are the necessary condition of animate life-development and in their absence we have the phenomenon of death or inert and inanimate existence: when the energy of light and heat departs from a man. especially formative energy. Fire therefore is the conventional or symbolic name of the third power of matter. . is the conventional term for the second condition of matter.

The Karmayogin 251 Next upon the igneous state follows the liquid or fluid. contact. igneous. It is the substratum of all solid forms and bodies and the last necessity for the development of life. the last term of gross matter disintegrates and matter reaches a stage at which many of the most urgent and inexorable laws of physics no longer operate. air. they are formed out of subtle matter by the combination of the five subtle elements in certain fixed proportions. All life is gathered out of “the waters” and depends on the fluid principle within it for its very sustenance. water or earth in which the subtle ethereal. contact. less freely motional or energetic. It is at this point where chemical analysis and reasoning can no longer follow Nature into her recesses that the Hindu system of Yoga by getting behind the five Pranas or . containing all the five properties sound. gaseous. The liquid state is the substratum of all fluid forms and activities. has given a symbolical name to the fourth condition of matter. The five elemental states of gross matter are impure. These five elemental states are only to be found in their purity and with their characteristic qualities distinct and unblended in the world of subtle matter. and in its comparative fixity life-development finds its first possibility of a sufficiently stable medium. form. half-volatile. for it provides life with a fixed form or body in which it can endure and work itself out and which it can develop into organism. fire. and since earth is the typical solid substance. form and taste. The last new property of matter evolved in the solid state is odour. taste. The solid state is the last to develop in this progression from tenuity to density. less pervasive. fluid or solid element prevails overwhelmingly over the others. for in this state pervasiveness reaches its lowest expression and fixity predominates. and distinguishingly marked by a kind of compromise between fixity and volatility. Water as the most typical fluid. taste and smell. halffixed. that one being given the characteristic name of ether. Earth is the conventional name selected for the fifth and final power of matter. In this state matter evolves a fourth property. perceptible by sound. Even the last and subtlest condition to which gross matter can be reduced is not a final term. when realised into its constituents.

“Air orders or arranges actions”. . indeed. Ordinarily. It needs only a careful training in the regulation of the breath to master this habit and make respiration subservient to the will. In psychic life also Prana is inherent in mind and supports those activities of subtle matter which are necessary for psychic existence.252 Isha Upanishad: Part Two gross vital breaths through which Life manifests in gross physical matter. of course. as we have seen. VIII. So important is this function that Breath and Prana are generally identified. the usual signification of the word Prana is. Matariswan and the Waters. in other words. differentiates and determines their proper functions. that even the searching analysis of modern science has not been able to get behind it. We are now in a position to consider what may [be] the precise meaning of the Upanishad when it says that in It Matariswan ordereth the waters. Shankara takes apah in a somewhat unusual and peculiar sense and interprets. is the great vital energy breathing and circulating through all existence whose activity is the principal instrument of Will in the evolution of the Universe and whose mediation is necessary for all the operations of mind and body in gross matter. the regulation of breathing. if continued for two minutes will result in death by suffocation. and it is held as an incontrovertible fact that the maintenance of respiration is necessary to the maintenance of life. all the activity in the Cosmos is dependent upon the aerial or gaseous element in matter which enters into and supports all objects and. But this is merely due to a persistent vital habit of the body. as Prana. In reality. this is not so. Prana. breath and the five differentiated vital energies supporting the human frame are called the five breaths. The intimate connection between Prana and vital activity may be best illustrated in its most obvious and fundamental function in the living organism. So important is it. is so necessary to the body that an abrupt interruption of the process. the regular inhalation of oxygen into the system and exhalation of corrupted breath out of it. is able to take up the pursuit and investigate the secrets of psychic existence in a subtler and freer world.

It is held together and exists by the presence of Prana in its primary state. And this is possible because Prana. In the first stages of Yoga the sub-conscious activity of the body due to the life of the cells. The first condition of Pranayam is the suspension of conscious physical activity and the perfect stillness of the body. Even the internal respiration may be stopped and the vital activities entirely suspended without subjecting the body to the process of death and disintegration. can be gathered up into the mind-organ and from there in its simple undifferentiated form support and hold together the physical case. months and years while all the functions of breath and vitality are suspended. But if respiration is not necessary to the maintenance of life. the resumption of its functions by Prana is inevitably attended by . instead of being allowed to circulate through the system under the necessary conditions of organic physical activity. the only connection of Will with the physical frame being the will to subsist physically. for internal respiration and the continuance of the vital activities within the body still maintain the functions necessary to life. the partial or complete quiescence of Prana brings with it the partial or complete quiescence of physical activity. until the Will in its psychical sheaths chooses to resume its interrupted communications with the world of gross matter and recommence physical life at the precise point at which it was discontinued. in the later stages when internal respiration and vital activities are suspended. the vital energy. This is the first outstanding fact of Yoga which proves that Prana is the basis of all physical activity. which is the primary object of the various asans or rigidly set positions of the body assumed by the Yogin as a necessary preliminary in the practice of his science. and the life of the body becomes like that of the stone or any other inert object. The body may be kept intact for days. even this ceases. continues. it certainly is necessary to the maintenance of activity.The Karmayogin 253 Anyone who has for a long time practised this art of breathregulation or Pranayam can suspend inhalation and exhalation for many minutes and some not only for minutes but for hours together without injury to the system or the suspension of bodily life.

as has been said. differentiated and working physically. so Prana. and an immense heightening of mental power and energy.254 Isha Upanishad: Part Two the resumption of physical activity. smell. the activity of Prana in the physical body. Ordinarily the psychical life is overlaid and hampered by the physical life. The second outstanding fact is the peculiar effect of Pranayam and Yoga on mental activity. in its later stages it . the gross physical obstruction of Anna and Prana is rarefied and mind becomes more self-luminous. the freer the workings of the mind. pure and working psychically is at the basis of all psychical activity. The third outstanding fact of Yoga is that while in its earlier processes it stimulates mental activity. emission and physical ecstasy. the power of reading other minds and knowing actions distant in space and time. was the basis of all physical activity. At an intenser stage of Yogic exercise all the vital functions are stilled and Prana entirely withdrawn from bodily functions into mind which can then retire into the subtle world and operate with perfect freedom and detachment from physical matter. touch and taste. sight. clairaudience. shining out through the clouds that concealed it. In its higher stages this increase of power intensifies into clairvoyance. Here again we see that just as Prana. It is a significant fact that the habit of suspending these indriyas is attended by an extraordinary activity of the five indriyas of knowledge. For mind operates freely and naturally in subtle matter only and the subtler the matter. but is so much subtilised by the effect of Pranayam that the mind can operate far more vigorously and rapidly than in ordinary conditions. which implies the suspension of the five indriyas or potencies of action. The first condition of Yogic exercises is. and Prana. The reason for this development is to be found in the habit of gathering Prana or vitality into the mind-organ. utterance. locomotion. intermediate and working psycho-physically. hearing. vital energy is not only placed mainly at the service of the mind as in the concentration of the poet and the thinker. is at the basis of all mental activity. As soon as this activity becomes even partially quiescent. conscious telepathy and other psychical powers. grasp. the stillness of the body.

that Matariswan is that which arranges actions. Next it is drawn inward from external phenomena altogether and becomes aware of the internal processes and finally succeeds in concentrating entirely within itself.The Karmayogin 255 overpasses mental activity. is able to perfect its passive reactions or powers of reception and its internal reactions or powers of retention and combination. The reception of psychical impacts and the vibrations of subtle thought-matter are suspended. Will has then three courses open to it. we shall find that Prana ends where activity ceases. either to realize itself as the eternal Sakshi or witness and behold the vision of the Universe as a phenomenon within itself which it sees but does not enact. or to disappear into the Sunya Brahman. It is evolved directly out of ether. which is therefore its own mother and ultimately the . For Prana is a material entity arising out of the aerial state of subtle matter and as soon as that state is overpassed. liberated from even the vision of phenomena. If we follow Prana through this process of Yogic liberation. At first the mind drawn inward from active reactions to external impacts. the aerial principle. It may well be said. It is at this stage that Yoga develops powers which are so unlimited as to appear like omnipotence. the common matrix. It means that which moves in the mother or matrix and the word implies the three main characteristics of the aerial element. Throughout there is this close identification of Prana with activity. does not linger in this stage which is still within the confines of psychical existence. however. mind concentrates on a single thought and finally thought itself is surmounted and the Supra-Intelligence is potent. exist in its own infinity of pure consciousness and supreme bliss. This is followed by the entire quieting of the subtle or psychical indriyas or sense-potencies followed by the entire quiescence of the mind itself. The moment the Will passes out of subtle matter. Supreme Nothingness. activity ceases. therefore. but withdraws the Will beyond SupraIntelligence entirely into itself. or to return into the Self and. Matariswan is the philosophical expression for Vayu. Prana is impossible. the great Void of unconscious mere-existence with which the Parabrahman is veiled. The true Yogin. free and active.

may be said so to dispose these “waters” as to originate. for the word apah is commonly used to indicate the fourth element of matter. the other a sense even more satisfactory than Shankara’s interpretation. combining. acting and functioning through its energy Prana. In this case “waters” may have two meanings one of which gives a sense possible and not unsuitable. it creates the substances out of which sun and nebula and planet are made. Moving in ether. motions. By the energy of the aerial element the sun gives light and heat. developing. fish. involved in the solid. forces. it should be preferred to an artificial and unusual meaning. But this would be a narrow interpretation out of harmony with the vast sweep and significance of this verse which sums up the Supreme Entity in its aspects as the stable substratum of cosmic existence. a figure which is so common as to have become a . objects. activities of all those infinite forms which it has created. sustain organic life. earth revolves. it determines the nature. fire burns. substances. By waters may be indicated the various fluid forms which are evolved by the fluid element. By the combinations & operations of this aerial element the sun is built up. It is better therefore to take apah in the sense of the original ocean of cosmic matter. clouds are formed. clouds give rain. stone and metal. bird and beast. and this characteristic of motion operates in the matrix. sustain and develop all solidities and all forms of organic life. but the very materials out of which it is made. plant. its predominant characteristic is motion.256 Isha Upanishad: Part Two mother of all elements. and it is a law of interpretation not lightly to be set aside that when the natural and usual meaning of a word gives a satisfactory or even a possible and not unsuitable sense. Moving in ether. earth. and. Here lies the insufficiency of Shankara’s interpretation. a molten globe cools and solidifies into earth. it evolves fire and water and atmosphere. fire is struck forth. But it owes not only its life and activity. the vital energy. Prana. ether. powers. The word apah naturally and usually signifies “waters”. but all inanimate existence owes its life and various activity to Matariswan and its energy Prana. Not only all animate. the mighty sum of cosmic motion and energy and the infinite continent of cosmic energy.

Matariswan is born out of Brahman the Self and works in Brahman the Self. Matariswan is born out of ether and works in ether. IX. in Brahman. is the continent and condition of Matariswan and his works. then the whole Universe can be understood as a development out of eternal Matter with its two properties substance and energy. the matrix. it is therefore inevitably led to explain what it knows imperfectly or not at all by what it does know and understand. By this. in reality. evolve the forms and coordinate the activities of this vast and complex Universe. but ether is itself only an intermediate evolution. In It. so is Brahman the continent and condition of ether and its evolution. Spirit and Matter But Matariswan does not conduct these numberless cosmic operations vast and minute by virtue of its own intrinsic and unborrowed power. Otherwise we might well ask. it is meant that only so long as the Supreme Self is there. the Supreme Entity. as Shankara points out. The materialistic tendency is immensely assisted by the universal interdependence of Spirit. can the activity of Matariswan be conceived as possible. But the Upanishad emphatically negatives the material origination of things by stating that it is in Brahman.The Karmayogin 257 commonplace of Hindu thought. Soul and Matter. and no second term of existence other than Matter need be brought in to account for the evolution of Consciousness. that Matariswan orders the waters. The materialistic theory of cosmic origins has a great superficial plausibility of its own and it is popular with scientists because analytical Science knows thoroughly the evolutions of matter and does not know thoroughly the evolutions of soul and spirit. Matariswan. If there is a material substance which provides all the wherewithal necessary for the evolution of this Universe and a material energy by whose existence all the operations implied in its evolution can be explained. As ether. Every spiritual and psychical activity involves a material operation and this Science . the aerial element took and disposed the infinite supply of causal matter so as to provide the substance.

there must therefore have been a previous energy which evolved ether out of causal matter. my opponent from mere ideas the truth of which cannot be demonstrated by definite evidence or actual experiment. This original energy is not Prana. But Prakriti is not in itself sufficient to explain the origin of the universe. but Sankhya and Buddhism agree in rejecting the materialistic reading of the Universe and oppose to the well-tested certainties of Science certainties as well-tested of their own. . an original energy manifesting in substance is the origin. prefer to call it Maya. This force is Purusha or Spirit. that can alone account for cosmic evolution. All Hindu philosophies. says Sankhya. Prakriti or Nature. it is natural for Science to brush aside the argument as metaphysical. It is the presence of Purusha and Prakriti together. however. admitting the term Prakriti. not only the Vedantic. the vital energy. nay that the activity is the material operation and matter does not exist but is essentially spirit. for Prana is not original but a later evolution. another force is required which will account for the activity of Prakriti in Pradhana or original substance. When therefore idealistic philosophies argue in precisely the opposite sense and urge that the spiritual activity is the cause of the material operation. but this Science has not yet seen. mystical and irrational. It is equally true that every material operation involves a spiritual and psychical activity. but are essentially matter. It is natural therefore for the Scientist to argue that the material operation is the cause of the spiritual and psychical activity. Hindu thought has its own analysis of the Universe arrived at by processes and experiments in which its faith is as assured and unshakeable as the confidence of the Scientist in his modern methods of analysis and observation. that the material operation is the activity and spirit and soul do not exist.258 Isha Upanishad: Part Two has clearly seen. I argue from the firm basis of well-tested certainties. arising out of the aerial condition of matter and subsequent in time to the ethereal. thinks the Scientist. the material and the agent of evolution. To this original Matter Sankhya gives the name of Prakriti. nay. while Vedanta & Buddhism. To a certain extent Hindu philosophy goes hand in hand with the materialistic.

the variability. of a single Supreme entity or Self of Things. a ceaseless rush. every ripple in the sea of Time means a disturbance however small in the coincident sea of Space. moving through Space & Time. still more trenchant. obverse and reverse sides. Every inch of Space is thronged with an infinite variety of animate and inanimate existences. Its cosmic stir is like an eternally troubled ocean. foam and clamour of perpetual restlessness. The first result of this infinite complexity of motion is an infinite mutability. in the same limits of space and time. there is something evolving and developing. something decaying and disintegrating. multitudinous in kind. The necessity for positing another force than Prakriti arises from the very nature of Prakriti and its operations.The Karmayogin 259 Vedanta agrees and emphasizes what Sankhya briefly assumes. the unimaginably complex coincidence and simultaneousness of different rates and forms of motion in the same material. cannot cease from its perpetuity of persistent action. myriadly various in motion and action. infinite activity. does away with the reality of Purusha and Prakriti altogether and regards Cosmic Evolution as a cosmic illusion. its infinite progression of effects which are the causes of other effects. — motion without beginning. We can only realize it in sections by picking the web of Nature to pieces and regarding as separable and self-sufficient what are really simultaneous and coincident motions. And the rapidity. Causality. Wherever we turn our eyes. it is an endless chain. And this eternal motion and mutability means inevitably an infinite multiplicity. working in Substance. countless in number. causes which are the effects of other causes. are such as to baffle realization. An infinite multiplicity of motions make up the world . without end. without limit. without cessation or respite. forged by an eternal and indefinable Energy. — that Purusha & Prakriti are themselves merely aspects. Buddhism. The fundamental characteristic of Prakriti as soon as it manifests is eternal motion. a change however infinitesimal in the condition of the largest or most apparently stable parts of Nature as well as of the minutest or most volatile. infinite and without beginning or end. Nothing at this moment is precisely what it was the moment before.

unquiet and impermanent parts and combines into one harmony this confused strife of changing and interchanging . an absolute Stillness unaffected by the illusive mobilities of Energy. We know that the Cosmos is made up of an infinite number of motions simultaneously occupying the same Space and simultaneously existent in the same substance. eternal mutability. can lead to nothing but eternal unrest and disorder. in this eternal multiplicity an initial. Remove this eternal motion. multiplicity as its characteristics is the Alpha & Omega of existence. What is it that imposes an unchanging law of persistence and orderly development on this mass of infinitely shifting. an absolute Infinity undivided by Space or Time. Causality. But a consideration of the Universe does not justify our resting secure in that hypothesis. Eternal motion in itself would lead to nothing but eternal chaos and confusion. In this eternal motion there is something perpetually stable. we must suppose that an eternal Prakriti with eternal motion. since this is unimaginable and impossible. likewise. the condition of this unending motion is an eternal stability. an absolute Spirit ultimately real behind the phenomenon of substance. Space. Eternal mutability. an inactive energy. as things in themselves. mutability. Time. eternal multiplicity from the idea of Prakriti and we arrive at something we cannot recognize. Everywhere we see variety of motion resulting in a harmonious balance. If we do not accept this transcendental reality. but something else which is eternally stable. We are face to face with blank void and nothingness — or else. In other words.260 Isha Upanishad: Part Two creating endless variety of substance. There is therefore not only the mobile Prakriti. in the orbits of the revolving planets round the moving sun woven into one solar system we have a striking instance out of myriads of this law which governs every object and every organism. an immaterial substance. persistent and final Unity. we must suppose something which cannot cease to be. but the result is not clash or confusion. function. an infinite multiplicity of change is the condition of its activity. cease to be. Without motion. an absolute Immutability unconditioned by cause and effect. in this eternal mutability a sum and reality which is immutable. form. but harmony.

The parts change. phenomena vary but the law governing them remains the same. There are many laws governing the workings of that substance in its evolution but they resolve themselves into one law to which all existence is subject. the thing in itself preserves its characteristics and remains unchanged. is a persistent Unity which precedes it and towards which it moves. Whatever the variety of forms. in its sum it is immutable. and so it is with all existences. forms of things change. there . The apparent multiplicity of the Universe is equally deceptive. but they are all evolutions from one substance. but they go back into one thing with one nature. and for this reason that the nature of things is immutable. the community than the class. but all resolve themselves into the one substance electricity. its sum never changes. in its broad masses it is more fixed and permanent. There is therefore not only this mutable Prakriti. the whole persists. And it is well known that while matter goes through infinite changes of form. but in all of them preserves its true characteristics and its own law of work. There are many forms of electricity. there seem to be many things with many natures. the laws of their development are immutable. the whole permanent. Electricity again is only one form and function of the igneous element which takes many forms. momentarily changing. mankind than the race. For the very condition of this infinite multiplicity. There are many substances. the reality is immutable.The Karmayogin 261 phenomena? In its details the universe is restlessly mutable. one seed disposes itself in many forms. We see therefore that the parts are impermanent. but something else which is eternally immutable. undiminishing it disintegrates. But not only is the sum of things immutable. the race than the community. The class is less mutable and impermanent than the man. unincreasing it develops. The condition of this unending mutability and impermanence is an eternal immutability and permanence. but it is always electricity preserving its true characteristics whatever work it may do or whatever body it may wear and always working and changing under the fixed laws of its being which cannot change. Electricity works in various shapes and in many activities. As substances and forms develop.

For material energy working in material substance is quite enough to explain all the evolutions of Nature and these in themselves make Eternal Matter. but as it is analysed and resolved nearer and nearer to its origin. its vagueness increases until it comes to a standstill or rather dissipates in . therefore. it becomes more and more unsubstantial. Immobile Sum and Reality of Things which is Parabrahman. They are the two opposing lines of force whose action and reaction preserve the equibalance of cosmic existence.262 Isha Upanishad: Part Two are many forms of the igneous element. We have arrived again at that One infinitely Immutable. when examined it appears that substance is really another term for energy. but merely phenomena. however. mutable. its density becomes less and less. there are many elements besides the igneous. matter is resolved nearer and nearer to its origins. Materialistic Analysis insists however that the eternal unity. immutable and one. but they all resolve themselves into one causal and universal substance. it disappears into something which is not substance. of which electricity is one. until. This is the bottom fact of the universe. Moreover. As. There is therefore not only this evermultiplying Prakriti. but something else which is eternally One. the conditions of density and tenuity which constitute material substance. Hindu thought. Substance increases with density until it reaches its highest expression in solid physical matter. all complexities and varieties resolve themselves into a precedent simplicity. and all simplicities into an original Unity. on the farther brink of causal matter. In this mobile. but the eternal reality in which they act is not spiritual but material. mutability and motion are themselves characteristics of Eternal Matter. multitudinous Prakriti. has always been unable to accept this conclusion because its analysis of cosmic existence has convinced it that substance and energy are not things in themselves. energy like substance becomes less and less intense. its tenuity increases. there is then a persistent element which is stable. immutability and immobility supporting and making possible the eternal multiplicity. but they all resolve themselves into one igneous element. correspond with the conditions of motional intensity and vagueness which constitute material energy.

The Karmayogin 263 something which is not energy. non-existent. The conclusion is irresistible that substance and energy are merely a single phenomenon with a double aspect. reception. For if it be evolved from matter as an entirely new birth. Granted Parabrahman as the reality of things. For material energy in material substance is sufficient to explain all phenomena. they only liberated it from the dense obscuration of gross matter. to which we may give the name of Matter. At the beginning of material evolution matter is in itself inanimate. or the One. for which we have no warrant in reason or experience. then. just as water is formed out of hydrogen and oxygen. reaction. consciousness. Immutable. or it must be a new substance formed by the union of two or more substances. and that in the origin of things this phenomenon. did it appear? By the interaction of the three gunas inherent in Prakriti. and containing in itself the unity of Spirit and Matter. One argument remains open to material Analysis. retention. it must be either some already existent material substance in a new form — say. yet phenomenal existence itself is purely material and there is no need to call in the assistance of any other and different entity. This Supreme Entity is not matter. some kind of gas or electricity. Immobile. since it is so absolute an entity as to be indefinable except by negatives. How and whence. which is neither material nor spiritual. does not exist. to all appearance. defined by negatives simply because it is not expressible to the finite intellect. asserting only that Parabrahman is not a negative entity. But the interaction of the three gunas did not create Consciousness. For if consciousness were not involved in Matter. but an eternal and positive Reality. No such . into what do substance and energy disappear? out of what were they born? We are confronted again with the necessity of choosing between the unimaginable impossibility of blank void and nothingness. The question remains. it could never be evolved from it. Infinite and Eternal Reality which is Parabrahman. we have seen. Vedanta concedes this caution. But it may be argued that it cannot be certainly called Spirit. Hindu thought holds however that it is not sufficient to explain the ultimate phenomena of Consciousness.

is even more startling. more inexorably irrational. aspiring. these undeveloped forms of life have been able to master the world. In his organism he is merely a mass of animalculae which belong individually to the lowest stage of animal life. it has understood existence and grasped the conception of infinity. it has harnessed the forces of Nature to do its bidding. it has written the dramas of Shakespeare. He derives his mind. Man. the disproportion between the results achieved and the means supplied by this theory . There is something fascinatingly romantic and interesting in the conception and it is not surprising that the human intellect should have been captured for a while by its cheerful audacity.264 Isha Upanishad: Part Two gas or electricity has been discovered. yet declared him capable of divinity by the easy process of belief in an irrational dogma. out of mere material gases and chemical substance is a paradox so hardy. no such new substance exists. is an utterly insignificant unit in the universe. reasoning. he lives his short span of life and is then decomposed into the gases out of which he was made. been able to effect? It has analysed the elements. it has weighed the suns and measured the orbits of the stars. but by combining into a republic with the cells of the brain as a sort of despotic senate or council. Indeed the evolution of a mighty. conquering. so colossally and impossibly audacious that mankind has rightly refused to accept it even when advanced with the prestige of Science and her triumphant analysis and the almost irresistible authority of her ablest exponents to support the absurdity. Christian theology was inconsistent enough when it degraded man to the dust as a worm and clod. capable of something like omnipotence and omniscience. But how long can unreason prevail? Even if we regard man as a limited being and take what the race has done for the utmost measure of what the individual can do. which lodges no hidden angel in the flesh. but the materialistic paradox. the philosophies of Kant and Shankara. says materialistic Science. What has not this republic of animalculae. irrepressible Consciousness. body and moral nature from his brother the chimpanzee and his father the gorilla. the epics of Valmekie and Homer and Vyasa. this Rome of protoplasms. the infinitesimal creature of a day. more naked.

it has learned that conscious Will in the human body can not only override the laws of gross physical matter and come appreciably nearer. it exposed itself to an inevitable reaction. survive the disintegration of the body. however paradoxical. the answer is that consciousness operates more powerfully when the brain is quiescent and unimpressed from without and survives cellular decomposition. consciousness abides. it can only be because it was involved into gross matter by a previous downward evolution. or that consciousness is merely a material energy manifested at a particular intensity of ethereal vibration. like light or sound. consciousness is the result of impressions and vibrations in the brain. it is not being . the experiment is not likely to be repeated for long on the authority of scientists who profess to make reason their judge. But when it sought to replace them by a more astounding irrationality than any religion had been guilty of and began to contract its own hard crust of dogmas and prejudices. — even those creeds most philosophically insufficient and crude. If it be still contended that. although undeniably consciousness is evolved out of gross matter.The Karmayogin 265 is too great to be overlooked. Science prevailed for a time over religion by exposing the irrationalities and prejudices which had overgrown and incrusted spiritual truth. To the Hindu mind this is an insuperable obstacle to the acceptance of the material origin of consciousness. For they show that. as a habitual law of Nature. so long as the practice of Yoga subsists in India. Mankind for a time believed because it was incredible at the bidding of theologians who ruled reason out of court. within its sphere. It was inevitable that the religions formerly crushed down and almost smothered by the discoveries of Science. to omnipotence and omniscience. but that this conscious Will can impose absolute quietude on and detach itself from the animalcule republic which is erroneously supposed to originate and contain it and that it does. — should be raising their heads and showing an unexpected vitality. the Hindu mind will never accept materialism. From its long acquaintance with Yoga and the results of Yoga. and that when energy is quiescent and ether dissolved into its origin. These two facts are fatal to the materialistic theory and.

and after subtle matter dissolves. and it culminates spiritually in the Will to surmount both death and life and persist eternally and transcendentally. nor evolves. an immortal act or remembered career no less than by psychical persistence of personality after the death of the body. it develops psychically in the desire to outlast death and become “immortal” by whatever way. a discovery. consciousness operates coevally with it. The first of the trio is the impulse of existence. X. Original consciousness. a statue. the will to preserve self. form or function of consciousness affected by the medium in which it is working. It is clear therefore that from the first appearance of matter. but is not dependent on it for its origin. is termed Spirit. but other and different from it. by a book. so also it can exist apart from and survives the disintegration of its subtle body. not merely temporarily but unendingly. it is being merely liberated from its prison. Showing itself at first physically in the instinct of self-preservation and the instinct of self-reproduction.266 Isha Upanishad: Part Two created. an invention. Before subtle matter evolves. Spirit must never be confused with the apparent manifestations of it. Neither can consciousness be taken as a function of subtle matter. consciousness preexists in causal matter. which are merely the action and reaction of Matter and Spirit on each other. The second characteristic of consciousness is the capacity of knowledge or . The characteristics of true Spirit can be determined by distinguishing what is essential. for just as it can exist apart from and survives the disintegration of its gross body. a song. to survive and be. And since matter at the stage of causality neither functions. characteristic and permanent in consciousness throughout all its stages from what is merely condition. There are three such characteristics which appear rudimentarily the moment consciousness itself appears and seem more and more pronounced as liberated Spirit develops to its highest self-expression. as distinct from Matter. consciousness is not a function or evolution of causal matter. consciousness survives in causal matter. a picture.

and culminates spiritually in self-knowledge and the awareness of one’s own eternal and unabridged reality. These three characteristics constitute the conception of Spirit. and understanding. its superstructure. its basis. its power of awareness and its delight in existence into the medium of Matter sets evolution going. Purusha is the eternally immutable. Showing itself physically at first in mere sense-pleasure and the clinging to life. going deeper. it develops psychically in personality with memory. pure existence. mutability. change and evolve. the Will to know. Vedic philosophy. it is Prakriti that vibrating to the touch of this conscious delight in existence. Spirit remains what it essentially is. The limitations of consciousness. was driven both by philosophical reasoning and the ultimate experience of Yoga to the conception of the one Supreme Entity transcending the distinction between . to move. immobile and singly real condition of Universal Evolution. begins to act. the Will to enjoy. sympathetically in all existence. The third characteristic of consciousness is the emotion of pleasure in existence. the phenomena of consciousness are merely phenomenal results of the vibrations of Prakriti in Consciousness and not changes in Spirit itself. consciousness and delight. primarily in one’s own.The Karmayogin 267 awareness. and culminates spiritually in the delight of our psychical personality in contact with or entering into the impersonal existence of our real and infinite Self. This is the most powerful and fundamental of emotions. Prakriti in action is its eternal motion. This is what Sankhya philosophy means when it says that Purusha imparts activity to Prakriti by its mere presence or propinquity without thereby becoming itself active. reason and intuition. Showing itself at first physically in sensation and response to external objects. it develops psychically in the emotions of love and joy. which by throwing its willto-be. Sankhya does not go beyond this conclusion which it finds sufficient for its purposes. multiplicity. — so powerful as to persistently outlast all the pain and struggle which the hampered existence of Spirit in Matter brings to the personality. it considers Purusha and Prakriti to be both ultimate eternal entities in the Supreme Reality and their propinquity a satisfactory explanation of the Universe.

it is the very condition of thought and knowledge. it is then not only possible but inevitable that Spirit should be so constantly and closely aware of the perpetual activity of Matter as to attribute that activity to itself. mutability. multiplicity operating in the Infinite and Immutable. The triune noumenon of motion. stability and unity continually interpenetrate. Nor could Vedanta be satisfied with mere propinquity as a sufficient explanation of the manner in which immutability. Condition or. cannot be conceived. original matter. Spirit. And if Spirit and Matter are not entirely different and separate entities but various expressions of a single supreme Ens. In this interpretation of the Universe Vedanta consummated its analysis. immediately generates the noumenon of motion characterized by change and relation of parts and we have at once motion. changing. — this is Prakriti. multiplicity or. Purusha and Prakriti. Matter a noumenon of apparent self phenomenally evolving as substance and energy. mutability and multiplicity of Matter. it would be possible for it to impress its own nature on the motions of Prakriti at every point of its evolutions without itself moving and acting. surround and govern the infinite motion. for without it the Universe as it is. conditions and governs substance. which are merely its noumenal self-expressions. Time. Prakriti. Space. Prakriti with its evolution Pradhana is the material cause of the Universe. in one word. it is the ultimate fact of cosmic existence. just as energy informs. a sense of Its real self supporting and therefore pervading and conditioning phenomena. But if Spirit informs. conditions and governs Matter. and nothing farther is needed for the evolution of the cosmos. and all philosophic analysis of existence must inevitably culminate in this noumenon. the presence . Energy generates the noumenon of substance moving.268 Isha Upanishad: Part Two Spirit and Matter. The triune noumenon of Time. mutability. The noumenon of energy-substance constitutes Pradhana. relatively shifting in the Infinity and Immutability of Spirit. Origin-of-Matter working in Spirit. in one word. Condition reposing in the sense of actual Infinity and Immutability. still less of the manner in which Purusha identifies itself with the merely phenomenal changes of consciousness. Space.

psychically as imagination and spiritually as Avidya. Space. the . This view is triply necessitated by the truths of elemental. every noumenon of Consciousness must translate itself into an Existence of which the Consciousness is aware. When we consider the relations of Spirit to elemental matter. It is therefore through Spirit and not through Matter that we are likely to get nearest to the Supreme Reality. Consciousness and Existence in the Eternal Self being one. awareness and bliss. but as the obscuration of Matter lessens. But our pure unconditioned Self is. the Will to know. but owing to its continual immanency in matter. psychical & spiritual evolution. so creating the phenomenon of soul or spirit working in matter. supporting and pervading Prakriti and its evolutions is the efficient cause of the Universe. we see that as the obscuration of Matter thickens. attributes phenomenal existence to itself. Spirit is more and more liberated until in the origin of things Matter seems a mere appearance in the reality of Spirit. The conception of motion creates the appearance of energy at work. The conception of Time. all evolution the result of Avidya. we find it characterized in this last stage by the Will to be. the power of conceiving what is Not-Self. The conception of motion-intensity as substance creates the appearance of matter worked upon. it is utterly covered in. Condition creates the appearance of Time.The Karmayogin 269 of Spirit containing. we still envisage Consciousness as pure existence. Spirit becomes more and more concealed until. All Matter is phenomenal. Condition by that fundamental power of Consciousness which shows itself physically as formation. we have seen. when we study our psychical evolution and follow Consciousness in its progressive liberation until it becomes Will in causal matter. the Will to enjoy. Noumenon leads naturally to phenomenon. but it is the noumenon or sense of the real Self persisting throughout all the obscurations of Avidya. Thus Cosmos originates. it is not absolutely the real Self of things. in gross inanimate matter. It will be seen that in this explanation of the Universe Spirit is taken as nearer to the Supreme Reality of things than Matter. Space. Spirit is not phenomenal. So too. and when we get behind will and matter to our pure unconditioned Self.

awareness. It is anejad Ekam. as Shankara points out. Lastly. and the reference is obviously to those vibrations of Prakriti on the tranquil surface of Self which are the beginning and cause of matter and its evolutions. even when It is supporting the cosmos and seems to be moving in it. Long and difficult to follow as has been this account of the Nature of Things according to Vedic philosophy. Purusha or Spirit is therefore the noumenon of the true Self. Spirit follows Prakriti through her three stages of material evolution.270 Isha Upanishad: Part Two Reality of Things unaffected by Prakriti or its phenomena. informing and sustaining them and mirrors their changes in itself as the changes of the sky may be mirrored in a clear and motionless pool. for there is no Other. — in terms of Spirit and not of Matter. We may therefore safely conclude that so far as the Supreme Reality can be positively envisaged by us in its purity. means to shake or vibrate. In It Matariswan ordereth the waters. The verses describe Parabrahman in Its truth with respect to the Cosmos. but at the same time they indicate that it is the absolute and real Self of things which manifests in the Cosmos and not any Other. The root ejri. which in the second chapter of this book we could only adumbrate. it is envisaged as existence. the One who moveth not. bliss. we find that it consists in the reflection of Prakriti as if by the Spirit. Purusha is immutable. but the changes of the sky are not changes in the water. immobile and One. when we analyse the evolution of Purusha in its three States. But the Self does not vibrate and is not affected by the vibrations of Prakriti. just as the Supreme Reality is immutable. not in the absolute reality which is Its truth in Itself. Throughout it remains the One and is not broken up into multiplicity. immobile and One. XI. Prakriti the noumenon of not-Self or apparent Self. even when by its immanence in many forms it seems to be many. It is in this true Self of Parabrahman that the evolutions of apparent Self take place. it was necessary so that we might understand minutely and comprehensively the meaning of these two verses. These opening .

In this second phrase of the verse the Parabrahman is identified with the Supreme Will in the Cosmos which without lifting a finger or stirring a foot creates and encompasses the Universe. the Will does not divide or multiply itself. informing and governing it. The Will does not move but causes and conditions the infinitely complex cosmic motions. is immobile and one. precedes all these multiple potencies. all that happens and becomes is the inevitable working of material cause . all the senses together cannot comprehend their origination. like the Self. This Supreme Will is simply Self or Spirit envisaging itself as the immanent Cause and Director of cosmical evolution in matter. Being essentially the Self. limited and finite. they cannot grasp that which transcends limit. Parabrahman. but plays with the multiplicity of cosmic forms and energies and impresses or mirrors itself in each. the landscape the Universal Self in the Cosmos. swifter than thought. To the finite intelligence reasoning within prescribed limits it appears that there is no Will in action. it is. It is. Sight. but as seen in the moving Cosmos. Brahman. as Self or Spirit. but causes and determines actions. but the motion of Spirit in Cosmos is the illusory motion we see in the landscape as it whirls swiftly past the quiet watcher in the railway-carriage. the One. The individual Self in Man is the watcher in the train. the Will does not act. the landscape is not moving. is yet.The Karmayogin 271 words of the first verse identify the One Immutable Immobile Infinity called Self or Spirit in the Cosmos with the Supreme Entity. This Supreme Entity which. In the terminology of the Upanishads the Gods are the Potencies of the Universe which govern the Mind and the Senses in the microcosm Man and the Elements and their manifestations in the macrocosm Universe. without moving. The watcher is not moving. Hearing. are such that the Mind. swifter than thought. Swiftness implies motion. it is the train which is moving and carries the sitter with it. The Gods could not reach It going in front. even in its motionlessness. pervading. The rapid and stupendous effects of Will. One and Immobile. It existed before they came into being and is therefore beyond their grasp. omnipotent and omniscient. the train is Prakriti.

by Itself. But the mind and senses cannot come near to and apprehend the nature of the Will or realize the how of its workings. atmanyatmana. but nowhere is there any finality or completeness. because the mind and the senses can only understand what is done through their instrumentality or within the elemental medium to which they are limited and confined. Causality. Somehow a result is worked out. she does it under limitations and by limited instruments. from years sempiternal. nor does He act in phenomena. they can dissect thought and sentiment and classify the mental functions and the laws of reasoning. or of the Elements combining and working on each other. imperfect and the result of ceaseless effort and struggle. This is He that from years sempiternal hath ordered perfectly all things. are themselves limited and imperfect. they cannot reach and analyse. But Brahman. But Will is the cause of Causation and the disposer of Effect. He has arranged the motions of Prakriti beforehand. nowhere the repose of consummation. a maze of forces acting and reacting on each other. Space and Condition in a way the Mind cannot comprehend. Space. helping. Will by Will necessitates phenomena in Itself. Will creates effects. hindering and repulsing and always with a partial and mechanical or only half-intelligent action. not acting but simply by His presence necessitating that the Law shall be observed and His dispositions followed. by Iccha or Wish. This incompleteness is an illusion created by the nature of finite Consciousness. unhindered and perfect. in other words. The preordainment was immediate. Will preceded and dictated the workings of the Elements and arranged their combinations beforehand. but the carrying out seems to be slow. functioning only under limits and with . a web of failures. They can analyse the physical forces of Nature and formulate the laws under which they work. incomplete realizations and transient successes. But when Prakriti translates Will into phenomena in the terms of Time. The Mind and the Senses. outside Time. and He now abides concealed in them. through whom we become aware of the workings of the Universe.272 Isha Upanishad: Part Two and effect. the Will. He has mapped out the law of those motions before ever they began to stir. progress is made. for He does not work through them.

He looks upon his work as a whole and sees that it is good. Space and Conditions. progression or retrogression. imperfection. look before and after and see sections of the past and dim apparitions of the future from the standpoint of their moment in the present. God said. While the Mind and Senses pressing onward through Time. phenomenal pleasure and satisfaction. decided and accomplished in Itself all that is to be and leaves the mind and senses to toil after It and work out the preordained ideas and forms left impressed on the mould of that future which to It already exists.The Karmayogin 273 effort they cannot envisage the work accomplished except in parts and with a restricted. phenomenal intelligence. To such a divine Vision the working out of preordainment may present itself as a perfect. overtakes and passes the others as they run. standing still. It has in that moment apprehended. the Will from its position beyond the beginning of the past speeds beyond them into the future and to the end of things. Light seems in its inception to have come into being by a slow material evolution completed by a fortuitous shock of forces. But to the imperfect finite consciousness. in its operation to be lavished with a prodigal wastefulness since only a small part is used for the purposes of life. hampered by obstacles and chequered with darkness. covers all Space with one stride. immediate and unhindered consummation. even though they toil after it. embraces the whole chain of causation in one glance. To Brahman the Will who measures all Time in a moment. “Let there be Light” and. there was Light. there is no limitation. Limitation. because to the Will Past. progression and retrogression are inseparable from phenomenal work. It does this standing still. To see life steadily and see it whole is only permitted to a Perfect and Infinite Consciousness standing outside Time. Present and Future are but one moment and It lives in all of them simultaneously. Brahman. imperfection. God saw that it was good. for ever He outruns their pursuit. straightway. in its presentation to be conveyed to a blinking and limited vision. and when the Light came into being. they do not contain Brahman but are . disturbed and broken vision. moving far in front. But the Gods cannot reach to His completeness.

since He is not in Space. Brahman is Vaisvanor. for to Brahman here and there do not exist. Brahman. traverses all Time. In It Matariswan ordereth the waters. The Mind and senses hasten through Space. Brahman is the stable and immutable Unity which is immanent in the Cosmos as its real self of existence. toilfully and by parts the single comprehensive knowledge It acquired without any process and to experience under the law of Time the immediately complete Universe It has perfected without any labour.274 Isha Upanishad: Part Two contained in Him. cause does not precede Him nor effect follow. Brahman. measuring the distance between star and star. this Self and Omnipresent Lord of things. This too It does standing still. without motion. While the Mind and senses run in the winding & twisted line of causation. It does this also standing still. the Waking Self. It leaves them to count out the chain link by link by the imperfect aid of reason. by the mere fact of being. but are both embraced in the single and mere existence of Himself as Will. traverses Space from one end to the other. as Will. the Will from the beginning of the chain passes them and has in a moment formed and surveyed it to its very end. knows it as a Whole and creates in Itself all its forms present. Secondly. and to trace out by the slow and endless process of work generating work and life generating life the complete and single Evolution which is already a predestined and therefore an accomplished fact. piecing what is past to what is to come. since cause and effect exist simultaneously in the Will. but the Will passes them. for to Brahman there is no succession of cause and effect. all is here. in whom is contained and by whom exists all this evolution of physical . is also that which contains all evolution and determines every object and force evolved by Prana out of original matter. We have here Brahman in a third relation to Cosmos. Space and Causation. for Will. past and future. Disposer and Cause. is also. this immobile Unity. that which stands still and is yet swifter than mind and the potencies of mind. the Ordainer. but Space is in Him. awareness and bliss and which supports all phenomenal objects and forces as their omnipresent substratum of reality. it leaves the Mind and senses to gather slowly. Lastly.

Purusha alone is not Brahman. for He is not only the efficient cause of His Cosmos. the Dream Self. for there is no you or I. are yet appearances of Himself. Brahman is the Turiya Atman in whom and by whom Prajna-Taijasa-Vaisvanor are. be it clearly understood. by a part of It but by Brahman one and indivisible. So also the Spirit in man is not a fragment of Deity. When it is said that Brahman is One and Unmoving. and Brahman does not move or vibrate. The Self in me is not merely a brother to the Self in you or of one kind with it but is completely and utterly yourself. This tree is pervaded and surrounded by the Divine Presence. in whom is contained and by whom exists all the psychical evolution from which the physical draws its material. Brahman moves or vibrates. The presence of God is as complete in one small flower as in the whole measureless Universe. Matariswan and the Waters. Brahman is Prajna. It moves. the Gods who cannot reach Brahman. it is not meant that the mobile and multiple element in the Universe is other than Brahman. Prakriti also is Brahman. but its material Cause as well. One Reality in many transient and perishable frames. the same It is outside all. but One Eternal Immutable in many names and forms. whom He contains. It moveth not. It is far. the Sleep Self. This second verse only brings out more emphatically what is implied in the first or presents the same truth from a slightly different standpoint.The Karmayogin 275 world. whom He precedes and outstrips. and not only the Cosmos as a whole but every particular object and force in the Cosmos. are also of His substance. but the Eternal Himself in His imminuable majesty. He pervades the Cosmos and contains the Cosmos. as ether pervades the earth and contains the earth. XII. in whom all evolution psychical & physical is for ever self-existent and preordained. It is true that the motion . — not. He does not move. As the One Immutable and Immobile. but He moves as mobile and multiple Prakriti. the same It is near. It is within all this. Brahman is Taijasa.

quiescent and unmoved. by him and are of his substance. injurer and injured. and these trees and tanks which were part of our childhood. things we cherish until death and things we put from us with loathing. To take the suggestive human parallel. for our love and our hatred. the personages of his dramas and their words and actions are not Shakespeare in the ultimate truth of himself. whether because it is remote in the distance of Time or hidden in the distance of Space or lost to the blindness of . Shakespeare in himself is one and immutable. and this country which is our mother and nurse. this is Brahman. in his creations he is mutable and many. they are true psychical images and live as phenomena in the consciousness of Shakespeare though not as separate and independent entities. and what we love and hate. things forgotten and things remembered. Emotionally & mentally near and far. yet they are not other than Shakespeare. in them He moves and energises. friend and enemy. eidolons of the Brahman. but the phenomenal has a truth and existence of its own and is not utterly unreal.276 Isha Upanishad: Part Two and multiplicity of Prakriti are phenomenal and superficial. but they have a reality of their own. The tree and the river are not real as tree and river. the stability and immutability of Purusha fundamental and real. So also the multiple Cosmos has a true phenomenal existence and reality in the Brahman. It is far and It is at the same time near. though no separate existence as independent entities. and that which is so far from us that it cannot stir a single emotion or create a ripple of sensation in the mind. all in which we habitually live and move. and this village or city in which we live and do business. and the faces we familiarly know and the voices we daily hear. Physically near and far. all this is Brahman. all that is Brahman. for they live in him. It is easy to say they are unreal. In Himself He is calm. our work and the daily web of our fears and hopes and longings. and this house which shelters us. but they are real as images. the Sun and the distant constellations and Orion and Aldebaran and Lyra and whatever utmost star glitters on the outermost mesh of this network of suns and systems. and equally this earth which is our dwelling-place.

this is Brahman. and our own Self who eternally enthroned in the cavern-heart of our being. unstained by our sins. every object however inanimate. — this our Self too is Brahman. for the unknown and the little known. pure in our virtues. smiles at our pleasures and pains. immutable and ineffable than the Supreme Being. that is Brahman. than the enlightened professor of “rational” religion. Intellectually near and far. nor our reason touch. that is Brahman. who declares God to be omnipresent and yet in the next breath pronounces the objects in which He is present to be void of anything that can command religious reverence. that too is Brahman. the ineffable and unimaginable Spirit whom our senses cannot perceive. thinking that is God. must hold all existence divine. no less omniscient and omnipotent than Isha. The Karmayogin who has realised it. mighty in our strength. and the subjective world in ourselves which is nearest to us of all. all life a sacrament. that which is too vast or too small for us to perceive. the error is in the mind of the idolater who worships the stone as stone and the stock as stock. or which our most powerful instruments cannot bring near to us or our keenest reasonings analyse or our widest comprehension embrace. that is Brahman. every form of life however vile. It too is without all. The heathen who worships stocks and stones has come nearer to the truth of things. It is within all this. volitions and aspirations and desires. the delight of the eye and ear and taste and smell and touch. There is no error in “idolatry”.The Karmayogin 277 indifference. for the Omniscient and Omnipotent Cause and Ruler who creates universes with the indrawing of its breath and destroys universes with its outthrowing. Brahman is within the whole Universe. and forgets or does not realise that it is the Divine . is brim-full with the presence of God. as mighty in our weakness. nor our minds comprehend. thought and memory and sensation and feeling. all thought and action a self-dedication to the Eternal. no less calm. beside whom we feel ourselves to be too vile and weak and feeble to partake even infinitesimally of His divine nature. Spiritually near and far. these too are Brahman. all we daily perceive and note. the myriad forms that Science analyses.

depend on His presence for the motive-force of their existence. Allah and Iblis. Every ceremony which reminds us of the presence of the Eternal in the transient. action and existence for His field of observation. the idea of Brahman’s omnipresence. Good is a mask and evil is a mask. but ignores Him in what is evil. To the Karmayogin there should be nothing common or unclean. the Knower with all thought. the Enjoyer whose presence makes the pain and pleasure of the world. hence the persistent idea of a twofold creative power. the one responsible for all that is good. there is none whom he can dare to loathe. if performed with a religious mind. but within all that is.278 Isha Upanishad: Part Two Presence in them which is alone worship-worthy. How can that which is inert. the other for all that is evil. And He is not only within us. God and devil. and as the Antaryamin or Watcher within. There is nothing from which he has the right to shrink. however. but the worship of it as a symbol is not superstitious or degrading. The stock or the stone is not God. valid for the purposes of life in phenomena. ugly or displeasing. But it is an imperfect religion which thus yields to the domination of the mind and senses and allows them to determine what is or is not God. . the Will behind every movement. we must resolutely remove the mask and see only the face of God behind it. For God is within us all. a spiritual help and assists in the purification of consciousness from the obscuration of the senses. To the ordinary intelligence. becomes a stumblingblock. What we value within ourselves. both are eidola. calm and eternal. Life and all our subjective consciousness and the elements of our personal existence and activity. a symbol of His presence. it is true and ennobling. senseless and helpless be full of that which is divine and almighty? Is it not a sacrilege to see Him in what is vile and repulsive? Is it not a blasphemy to envisage Him in the vicious and the criminal? Hence the popular Manicheanism which pervades every religion. every deed. we must not belittle in others. but when we seek that which is beyond phenomena. as the Self pure. Ormuzd and Ahriman. This kind of spiritual and intellectual weakness loves to see God in everything good and pleasant and beautiful. for it is only an eidolon. is. every emotion. Mind. if pushed home.

It is also outside all. He is in Cosmos only as the water is in the shadow and causes and contains the shadow. and find in it their one adequate philosophical justification and sole natural basis. a non-moral or even immoral philosophy. This distinction must be carefully kept in mind or the doctrine of entire identity between Brahman and the Self . Space and Condition: Cosmos is within Him only as the shadow of a cloud is in the water. justice. The Cosmos exists in Him phenomenally and as a transient appearance. But there is this difference that the appearance in the water is the shadow of something else cast from outside. is the same Divine Presence. all the highest demands that the most exalted ethical teacher can make on humanity are contained in that single doctrine. Spirit-Matter is Brahman. we must not hate in others. but is quite above and outside Time. and that which is in others. mercy. just as the shadow exists phenomenally in the water and after a time passes away. charity. purity. loving kindness. The materialistic Pantheism so natural to the sense-dominated intelligence of the West. we must not hurt in others. God is not in nature or substance His Universe.The Karmayogin 279 what we cherish within ourselves. That is not only within all this. is not Vedanta. Space and Condition. but He is not the Cosmos in His nature or in His substance any more than the water is in nature or substance the shadow. beneficence. To remember this is worth all the moral teachings and ethical doctrines in the world. He is also outside in the sense that He is apart from it and other than it. For that which is within us. is the Divine Presence. but the Universe is He phenomenally and as a manifestation. magnanimity. but the Cosmos is a shadow or eidolon of Himself created by Brahman in His own being. But the central truth of Vedanta enfolds in a single phrase all the highest ethics of the world. tolerance. Vedanta has been declared by those who have not chosen to understand it. He is not confined in Time. We have already seen that Brahman is outside all in the sense of containing the Universe and not only pervading but surrounding every object with His presence. but Brahman is not Spirit-Matter. what we love in ourselves. forgiveness. Courage.

love. magnanimity. The dictum. the four elements of sweetness. making that harmony of perfect sweetness & strength which is perfect character. has been used to express the imperfect evolution of the cosmos but is better applied to the present spiritual progress of humanity. an intellect. a perfect heart and a pure mind he will have erected a fitting temple for the Eternal within him in which he can offer the worship of works to the Lord and of selflessness to the Self. beneficence. but the supreme and highest of all things — Himself. but each man has that within him which is empowered to fulfil his evolution and even in this life become no longer an animal. must be carefully balanced by the truth that Brahman is outside it all. may lead to disastrously false conclusions. God is not but is becoming. to a mind. Yet to the Karmayogin the negative side of this dual truth is only necessary as a safeguard against error and confusion. such a mind as is alone capable of self-knowledge. The truth that Brahman is in all this. to that subdual of the bodily and vital impulses which disciplines the body into the triune strength of purity. which will lead him to the liberation of the divine in himself. In their stead he receives the mightiest stimulus to self-purification and self-knowledge. or a mind.280 Isha Upanishad: Part Two of Things. pure of passion and disturbance and prepared against the delusions of sense and the limitations of intellect. it is the positive side which must be his inspiration. greed and lust are eliminated. justice. In its light the whole world becomes a holy place and all cause of fear or grief or hatred disappear. the four elements of strength. charity. abstemiousness and quietude. all excuses for ignoble desire or ignoble action are taken away. and mercy. truth. In the race the progress is still rudimentary. grasping. to courage. For by that worship he will become himself the Lord and find release from phenomenal life into the undisturbed tranquillity of the Spirit. . In this disciplined body. all reason for selfishness. a heart. Theos ouk estin alla gignetai.

the noumenon of false self. forgetting that these are merely aspects of consciousness in relation to matter and not the true and eternal reality of consciousness. not merely of the same kind and nature as in the Sankhya teaching. Self identifies itself with the phenomena of the evolved universe. Every creature is His eidolon or manifestation and every body His temple and dwelling-place. thereafter shrinketh not away in loathing. all things exist only in Him and He abides in all as the Self. in whom all creatures have become Himself. the principles of material reception. the intellect. He who discerneth. for He is both within all and contains all. But this Self exists in each creature not partially or fragmentarily but in Its indivisible completeness. From Him all things began. Therefore the Self in one creature is precisely the same as the Self in another. “But he who sees all creatures in his very Self and the Self in all creatures. whence shall he have sorrow in whose eyes all are one?” In these two stanzas the Upanishad formulates the ethical ideal of the Karmayogin. how shall he be deluded. the vital impulses. creating an illusion of multiplicity and mutability. but absolutely identical. Chapter I. in Him they develop and mature themselves. The mutual relations of all beings to each other may be summed up in the single phrase. The sense of personal separation in space and substance and difference in nature has been illusorily brought about by the play of Prakriti. on the body. not merely kin by origin as in the Christian theology. all creatures in one Self”. habitually feeling the play of the three gunas. to Him they must in their nature strive to return. the supra-intelligence it mistakes the continuity of conscious impressions for the real self. the mind.Book III. on the one eternal Reality. reaction and retention. But the end of . “One Self in all creatures. It has set forth as its interpretation of life the universality of the Brahman as the sole reality and true self of things.

they were fully expressed in their highest and noblest form by Buddhism five hundred years before they received a passionately emotional and lyrical phrasing in Judaea and were put widely into practice . fatigue and other affections from external influences. In other words he must be completely master of his own body. heat. the Pagan virtue of endurance.282 Isha Upanishad: Part Two evolution is to liberate the permanent from the impermanent. lie therefore at the very root of Vedantic morality. a universal benevolence with its counterpart in action universal beneficence. indifference to cold. In order to realize this vision. he must practise cleanliness and purity in mind. To do as one would be done by. The Christian virtue of purity. the Self from its bondage to the three gunas and the false conceptions which that bondage creates. the Rishi. perfect tolerance. This liberation or release must therefore be the final aim of religion and ethics. perfect charity and forgiveness. it has been found by experience that a man must attain freedom from the lower impulses which identify the body and the vital impulses with self. not only all men. to love your enemies and those who hate you. body and speech. to see himself in all creatures and all creatures in himself. Religion and ethics must train the individual self in a man to discover its universality. men who make it their business and pleasure to do good to all creatures. perfect pity for sin and suffering. and the ideal or ethically perfect man is the one who has attained to this vision and observes it habitually in his thoughts and actions as the one law of his life. The Jivanmukta. otherwise religion and ethics will be out of harmony with the truth of things and therefore false or imperfect. the spiritual from the material. but all creatures. by their very nature. — the widest possible ideal of universal charity and beneficence. a perfect sympathy is essential and perfect sympathy brings with it perfect love. thirst. hunger. To see oneself in others is impossible without completely identifying oneself with others. — abstinence from gross gratifications and freedom from the domination of passions and desires. the sage must be. to return good for evil are the first ethical inferences from the Vedantic teaching. sarvabhutahitarata.

for he will then fully realize that the Supreme Will is his own Will. but walk straight forward in the implicit faith that the Supreme Will is guiding his steps aright and that even his stumblings are necessary in order to reach the goal. For in all things he will see the mighty Will which governs the Universe and which wills not only his own good and pleasure and success. but perfect justice with its necessary counterpart in action. he will also see God in his resistance to injustice and evil. his faith and resignation will also be perfectly calm and strong. but the good and pleasure and success of others equally with his own. the caste. the community. And not only perfect love and beneficence. the Pagan virtue of justice are the very sap and life of Vedantic morality. honest dealing and faithful discharge of duty are the natural outcome of the Vedantic teaching. death as courageously as life. implies seeing the Lord everywhere. friends. honour and kindness. insult and injustice as composedly as love. The debts we owe to parents. If his Yoga is perfect. but by his defeats and sufferings. He will not be terrified by the menace of misfortune or the blows dealt him by man or nature. family. For if we see ourself in others. a resistance dictated not by selfishness and passion. but as a personal pleasure. nor even by his own sins and failures. But the faith and resignation of the Karmayogin will not be a passive and weak submission. the nation we shall discharge not as an irksome obligation. Seeing the Self in all creatures. The ideal man of Vedanta will accept pain as readily as pleasure. which decrees that his own good and the good of others shall be worked out not only by his victories and joys. but undertaken . Whatever happens to me. wrong. hatred. The Christian virtue of charity. If he sees God in his sufferings and overthrow. we shall not only be willing but delighted to yield them all that is due to them and must shrink from wronging or doing hurt to them as naturally as we would shrink from doing hurt to ourselves. it is I that am its cause and true doer and not my friend or enemy who is merely the agent of my own Karma.The Karmayogin 283 in India more than two thousand years before Christian Europe took even slightly to heart what it had so long been professing with its lips.

a godlike courage. What is it that can cause him terror? Not danger or defeat. Vedanta does indeed teach that virtue and vice. the Pagan virtue of courage are the strong stem and support of Vedic morality. It does declare phenomenal life to be an illusion and a bondage. . but it replaces it by the far more powerful stimulus of selflessness which is only the rising to our higher and truer Self. and it demands a far higher standard of perfection in these qualities than any other creed or system of ethics. it is impossible for him to fear. good and evil are relative terms. not hatred or ingratitude. truth and beneficence as the first step towards liberation from that bondage. Esha dharmah sanatanah. The ignorant censure of Vedanta as an immoral doctrine because it confuses the limits between good and evil or rejects the one necessary motive to action and virtue. For when a man sees God in all things and himself in all beings. The Christian virtue of faith and resignation. What to many moralists is the highest effort of feeble human nature is to Vedanta only the first imperfect manifestation of the divine self in humanity. harmonizes and yet overtops and exceeds all other moralities. not the worse death of humiliation and the fiercer torture of shame and disgrace. not death or torture. it does ask the seeker to recognize the Supreme Will in what is evil no less than in what is good. but it also shows how the progression of the soul rises out of the evil into the good and out of the good into that which is higher than good and evil. strength. Not the apparent wrath of God Himself. purity. Vedanta embraces. so is Vedic ethics the eternal and universal ˆ morality. as Vedic religion is the eternal and universal religion. but it lays down the practice of courage.284 Isha Upanishad: Part Two for the sake of right and truth and the maintenance of that moral order on which the stability of life and the happiness of the peoples depend. Vedanta does reject the lower self of desire as a motive to action and virtue. for what is God but his own self in the Cosmos? There is nothing that he can fear. proceeds from unwillingness or inability to understand the fine truth and harmony of its teachings. And his resistance like all his actions will be marked by a perfect fearlessness. things phenomenal and not real.

This origin of ethics from the customs of the . Man is not a purely ethical being. ostracism. The sanction was again a communal sanction. Armed with such a sanction it will influence the thoughts and the thoughts the actions of the race.The Karmayogin II. strengthen and train the latter is the first object of all practical ethics religious or non-religious. death. In its origin it is more than probable that morality was a social growth and limited to communal habits and communal necessities. Ethics in primitive society. but even then it will be only a repressive and disciplinary influence. But even a psychologically sound morality will not command general assent in practice unless there is a sanction behind it which the reason or the prejudices of mankind will accept as sufficiently strong to make a necessity of obedience. if he is to surmount his anti-ethical instincts and either subdue them or eradicate. if it is seriously mistaken in its view of human nature or fails to discern and reach his highest and noblest instincts. 285 Every system of ethics must have a sanction to validate its scheme of morals and an aim which will provide man the stimulus he needs. The aim set before the individual was the continued privilege of abiding in the community and enjoying all-important advantages of security. for if an ethical system is psychologically untrue. the custom-code of the tribe or community commanded assent and obedience precisely because it was the tribe and community that commanded and could enforce them with severe social punishments. to liberate. To check the former. to be an active stimulus or powerful moral lever it must be able to set in our front an aim which will enlist strong natural forces on the side of virtue or an ideal which will appeal to instincts deepseated and persistent in universal humanity. assistance and social life which membership of the community could alone provide. it will either be ineffective or possibly even do as much harm as good to the moral growth of humanity. The first requisite to this end is a true knowledge of human nature and its psychology. excommunication. he has immoral and nonmoral impulses which are primarily stronger than his ethical tendencies.

In the early stages of upward evolution tamas predominates. For if we consider the history of communities and nations so far as we know them. we shall find that it consists so far in a progression from the society to the individual in society. as a social force. from a basis of tamas to an outgrowth of rajas in the tamasic basis. vital. or sattwic. in the final sattwa. retention. a character. an action. rajasic. physical are said to be merely the natural operation of the three gunas interacting upon each other. themselves originating from the fundamental necessities of self-preservation. not yet emancipated. physical or mental. is. the activity of each involves the activity of the other two. Early man is active only under the pressure of hunger. but in the absence of necessity or stimulus he is profoundly indolent. is small. His senses are keen and his power of activity great because keen senses and a strong.286 Isha Upanishad: Part Two tribe. None of these gunas can exist or act by themselves. In the early evolution of man it is inevitable. that the obscuration of tamas should be very heavy and that the characteristic of passive receptivity to outside surroundings should be markedly predominant. is called tamasic. These three gunas are called in the Sankhya terminology sattwa. agile body are necessary to self-preservation. all life mental. comprehension. His sensibility. for sensibility depends on and increases with . or as they manifest in physical substance. activity. a substance. and so all-important are they that all activity of any kind whatsoever. rajas. but according as one or the other predominates. hardy. passivity. therefore. a state of things. tamas. while sattwa perfected in a few individuals. in the medial rajas. It agrees also with the view of nature and evolution held by the Vedic inquirers. or when moved by the primitive impulses of sense and vitality and the needs of self-preservation. is warranted by the facts of sociology as rendered by modern investigation. We have seen that Prakriti or nature in all its operations works through three inherent gunas or qualities which repeat themselves in all stages and forms of her multifold activity. active reaction and passive reception. even inert. they are present as much in psychic and spiritual evolution as in the physical.

moral. Anger is the primitive reaction to an unpleasant impact which is not unfamiliar. curiosity. the power of reaction and this power is in the savage comparatively undeveloped. immobility. a characteristically sattwo-rajasic function. not to learn from it. aesthetic or intellectual reactions because of their raw intensity and violence is a sure sign of the undeveloped tamasic mind and is still . The Red-Indian’s stoicism. impassivity. This pleasure in crude physical. for the primitive mind finds a neverfailing delight in the physical response evoked by intense and violent pain. is alien and therefore hateful in its features.The Karmayogin 287 rajas. Such curiosity is at the root of the practice of torture. — the savage is easily mastered by gluttony and drunkenness but also capable of childlike worship and doglike fidelity when brought into close contact with a higher nature. — the savage is. to ferocious anger and vindictive cruelty when his hatred is aroused by injury or the presence of what. calmly cruel. This curiosity is different from the desire to know. fear the primitive reaction to an unpleasant impact which is new and surprising. though not unfamiliar in form. are too weak as yet to control. quiet endurance of pain are merely the inertia of the tamasic mind and body systematized and become part of his tribal morality. in their predominantly physical character and in the helpless spontaneousness of their response to impressions they reveal the domination of tamasic passivity. But the height of passivity is reached in his intellectual organization of which the only strong reaction is the primitive mental response to outside impressions. The savage is therefore prone to childish terror in presence of the unknown. regulate and rationalize the response. The habit of self-indulgence in anger by an organization of great passivity and low physical and mental sensibility creates the characteristic of a quiet unimpassioned cruelty. on the other it is manifested in a brutally violent response to unpleasant impressions. as a rule. for it consists in a childish amused wonder and a desire merely to repeat the experience. The centres of individuality. Hence the emotional nature shows itself on one side in a childishly unruly gratification of the pleasure of pleasant impressions. His emotional reactions are also weak and primitive.

The social organization. Personality. not for his own. The tamasic state of society reaches its highest development when the community. The settled state of society and the expansion of the community which a more prosperous and stable life brings with it. — communal selfpreservation. His passive mentality therefore not only accepts but welcomes rigid control by the community. The primitive community is therefore stationary. has memory for its basis and is determined by memory. the individual exists in it not as an individual. and has too weak an individuality to react against it or to desire change and progress. It has then the necessary condition for progress from the tamasic stage to the sub-tamasic in which the individual first begins to emerge although he is still subordinated to the community and lives chiefly for the general advantage. entirely outgrowing the attractions of the nomadic instinct.288 Isha Upanishad: Part Two common enough in the most civilized communities. the more varied experience. is in type and level on a par with that of the beehive and the ant-hill. By far the most powerful and insistent of these environments is the community in which he lives and which is necessary to him at every turn for his security and his self-gratification. Specialization of function becomes pronounced. we have seen. individuality or difference of personality is originally created by difference in the . it receives the hereditary custom-law of the tribe as an inviolable natural law. settles down to a fixed habitation for centuries and adds to its original reason for existence. This in its turn means the growth of individuality. but as an undetachable fragment of the whole. involve an increasing complexity of the social organization. inequality has begun. Originality and independence of mind and character spring from a strong rajasic development and are therefore unknown to the savage who is the creature and slave of his environments. for the larger needs of the community demand an increasing division of labour. Rank and private property begin to emerge. The more various activities. — the more fruitful impulse towards communal accumulation. the less primitive range of desires and the need of a wider knowledge of things and men create a greater mental alertness and increased mental differentiation. even at its best.

and habit is nothing but an operation of memory. therefore human personality is necessarily the same in its general nature wherever we meet it. but seizes on the impressions and . Difference of experience thus creates difference of personality. and from differently developed habits or ways of reaction to impressions received. and difference of experience depends on difference in life. which naturally results in different habits of emotional and mental reaction. The fundamental self in all men is the same. Rajas is the principle of activity and increases with the intensity and rapidity of the reactions of Will upon external things. the action of external Prakriti in its broad masses is the same all over the world. there can be no real individuality within the species. occupations. It is only when desires and needs multiply. Difference in personality arises purely from difference in the range of mental and emotional experience. Even the gratification of primitive sensuous desires does not involve anything more than minute and unnoticeable differences. and one savage community differs from another only as one animal sub-species differs from a kindred sub-species.The Karmayogin 289 nature and range of the impressions experienced and retained by the mind. The mind remembers that it received this particular impact before and reacted on it in this particular way and it repeats the familiar experience. self-preservation and self-reproduction. The repetition becomes a habit of the mind ingrained in the personality and so a permanent characteristic. For character is nothing but habit. it is not content like tamas with passively receiving impressions and obeying its environments. Hence one savage very much resembles any other savage just as one animal of a species very much resembles another of the same species. that difference of life and occupation can bring difference of experience and develop individuality. The increasing complexity of the community means the growth of individuality and the liberation of rajas in the human psychology. So long as life is bounded by the desires of alimentation. from the different distribution of various kinds of experience. for the processes required and the experiences involved in these functions are practically the same for each member of the species. pursuits.

the people. the man of industry. the warrior. subordination of the interests and passions of the particular. ideas. and as soon as it took definite form. invention. each broad line of pursuits and occupations would naturally mean the same general range of experience and the same habits of reaction to external impressions and so evolve . progress and reform. it proceeded upon broad lines. to the stability and safety of the whole. in types rather than in persons. it developed classes or castes.290 Isha Upanishad: Part Two strives ever to turn them to the service of individual personality. Character developed at first more on these broad lines than by individual irregularities. to master its environments and use them for its own enjoyment. for each kind of life. In the tamasic and sub-tamasic states man develops the all-important faculty of conservatism. In the early stages of the sub-tamasic state the question was not so acute. The rajasic man is the creator. tiller or artisan — and the thrall or servant. The more and more he developed. the lover of novelty. the priest. How should society deal with this element? From that single difficulty arose the whole sociological problem involving difficulties of ethics. for differentiation in the society was not at first very complex. The rajasic individuality was not likely to accept the traditional sanction. legislation and politics which after so many thousands of years mankind has not solved to its permanent satisfaction. reverence for the past. activities with less and less regard to the paramount importance of social stability. enterprise. the more and more strongly it would crave for the satisfaction of its expanding individual desires. fidelity to the communal inheritance. usually as a result of intermixture with alien elements. Social Evolution. originality. Chapter III. The growth of rajas therefore necessarily meant the inception of a great problem for society. be it class or individual. But here was a new element likely to disturb and upset the old state of things. the communal aim as a satisfying aim and a binding sanction. Everything which it experiences. the worker. — merchant. it utilizes for the pleasure and pain of the individuality.

death. The priest-type would develop favourably in the direction of purity. governing power as its qualities. social divisions became more intricately complex. within whose general predominance personal idiosyncrasy would be at first comparatively ill-developed and of minor importance. a tendency to trade on the general ignorance. the ancestral tradition of the community and the fear of social punishments. ostracism. the satisfaction of communal demands as the price of communal privileges. on the other desire of gain. unfavourably in the direction of jealous exclusiveness. Outside the limits of the caste ethics the general social code remained in full force. The object to be fulfilled was still predominantly the same.The Karmayogin 291 broad developments of character falling into caste-types. allowing no distinction between private and public life. Society accommodating itself to the altered circumstances modified its single and rigid social morality and admitted the validity of the newly-formed habits of mind and action as within the caste to which it properly belonged. In this attempt society could not permanently succeed and had either to abandon it or to call in the aid of other forces and stronger sanctions. the social custom-code also became more complex in its details and wider in its comprehensiveness. intellectual ability and acuteness. honour. Thus arose the ethical phenomenon of caste morality. Obedience and fidelity would be the virtues of the thrall. spiritual and intellectual pride. violence and ruthless ambition as its defects. the priest-class breaking up into schools. the people into . arrogance. it was as rigid and inexorable in its demands. The warrior type would evolve courage. its sanctions were unaltered. excommunication or other penalties which if less drastic were yet sufficiently formidable. industry and enterprise. learning. in its attempt to pursue him into every detail of his life and control not only his broad lines of life but his particular actions. the warriors into clans. as intolerant of individual originality and independence. As the life of the individual in the community expanded in extent and became more varied and complex in content. Its nature had not changed. The community grew into the nation. The earning class would develop on the one side honesty.

outside those limits it must persuade or compel him to conformity by influencing his mind and heart. it exercises no other coercive influence than that of social disapproval expressed but not enacted. too intricate in detail. Social disapproval unenacted is. is of any ultimate utility against the victorious advance of the individual life pressing forward in its irresistible demand for progress and freedom. it has no jurisdiction over his heart and mind or only so much as he chooses to allow it. it could control his outward acts by its rigour. the organization was growing too vast in size. . but it could not ultimately control his mental and spiritual life. In the later stages of the subtamasic social period we find that society has to a less or greater extent contracted its demands on the individual. but that part of his life which most strongly concerns the community. it still insists on regulating by the infliction or menace of social penalties more or less severe. society found itself baffled by an insurmountable difficulty. In small villages the old tyranny of society might be possible. Society can save itself only by conceding within limits the claim for individual freedom. the end of which is either the decay and death of the community or a purifying revolt. it may control a man’s bodily organs. not by direct coercion of his words and acts. No sanction by which society could enforce its decrees. But speech and act cannot long remain divorced from the heart and mind without affecting the soundness of society itself by a dry rot of hypocrisy and falseness. as the individual’s mental life became enriched and vigorous. Society may command the homage of conformance in speech and act to its fixed and conventional ideals. over another part of his conduct it exercises the right of enacting that disapproval in the shape of ostracism or excommunication. Over his inner life and a certain part of his conduct. Above all. Class began to push its individual claims against class. in great towns it must necessarily become increasingly lax and ineffective.292 Isha Upanishad: Part Two guilds and professions. individuals began to question the old sanctions or doubt the sacredness of tradition. yet this inner life psychical and spiritual tended irresistibly to master and mould outer physical actions.

it instinctively felt. Thus in the subtamasic state even at its highest development the social code retained its sacrosanct character in the new form of a consciously cherished and worshipped national tradition. now the individual was consciously habituated and trained from his childhood to retain this impression of venerable and inviolable sanctity. the development of the . In some communities. and the repositories of that tradition became the dominant class of the community. Social morality was no longer unwritten but gathered into codes and systems of life associated either with the names of the primitive makers of the nation or with the deified or half-deified historic individuals who first harmonised and perfected its traditionary ideals and routine of life and expressed the consciousness of the race in their political or ethico-legal systems. sought to dominate the individual intellect and imagination by the more radical process of education. Such were Lycurgus. an ineffective control over mind and spirit. Menes. Dravidic. traditions. the Indian and Chinese. Manu. demands. traditions had always been naturally accepted as sacrosanct. since any such abdication of its rule would lead. the power of religion. it strove even to give the religious sanction to all its own ideas. For in those days individual greatness and perfection commanded a sacred reverence from the individual consciousness. Confucius. whether an oligarchy as in Sparta and early republican Rome or a theocracy as in Egypt. Mediterranean the subtamasic stage of social culture was of long duration and has left its impress in the only civilizations which have survived unbroken from that period. sanctions. Aryan and Semitic.The Karmayogin 293 however. by no means content to leave the inner life of the individual free from the demands of its moral code. In the younger races. to moral anarchy. because in each man it was to this greatness and perfection that individuality impelled to achieve its complete emancipation was painfully striving forward. manners. Society therefore. Its view of life and its unwritten code of customs. For in order to control not only the heart and imagination but the deepest self in the individual society called in the aid of a spiritual force rapidly growing in its midst. In the older races and nations Mongolian.

superstition. there is an immense outburst of genius. For the preservation of a people tamas is absolutely necessary. it must either be weighted down by a heavy load of tamas or sustained and uplifted by a great strength of sattwa. the course of rajasic periods is soon run.294 Isha Upanishad: Part Two individual was far more rapid and urgent and left no time for the peculiarities of the later subtamasic period to crystallize and endure. invention or of splendid personal force and activity. desires. The Athenian thinkers themselves dimly realized this. . dissolves into a loose bundle of superstitions and prejudices. Social morality. passions. once so rigid and compelling. are not only the most interesting from their fascinating abundance of stir. Their evolution passed quickly into the rajaso-tamasic or even into the rajasic stage. brilliance of varied personality. it operates on society through a chosen and select few and is only rudimentary as yet in the many. prejudice. Individual originality being given free rein. if it is to work steadily and enduringly. Periods such as the revolutionary epoch in France when the rajasic element gets free play and communities like the Ionian democracies of which Athens was the head and type. but by his personal idiosyncrasy and the stress of his own ideas. In the rajasic state the individual forces himself into predominance and gets that emancipation and free play for his personality which his evolution demands. Rajas has in itself no principle of endurance. incident. talent. But the history of rajasic communities is necessarily brief. a mass of blind conservatism. capacities and ambitions. origination. in the brief history of such communities the work of centuries is done in a few years or in a few decades and future ages are fertilized from the seeds of a single epoch. But sattwa as a social force has not yet liberated itself. passion. even gross stupidity are elements essential to the safety of society. intolerance of innovations. while the society degenerates into a mere frame for a mass of individuals. In such periods. tradition is broken into pieces by the desire for progress & novelty and free play of mind. The individual is governed in his conduct not by social sanctions or religious obligations and ideals. which clamantly demand satisfaction. but also among the most fruitful and useful to humanity.

justice and enlightenment. but when the merciless questioning of Socrates and his followers crumbled them to pieces. but the past and its traditions are. jealously preserved and cherished. the individual is given legitimate scope. nothing was left for society to live by. superstitions were exposed to too rapid a tide of progress: for a time they acted as some feeble check on the individual. fell a prey to stronger organisms and perished. are thoroughly enforced. They felt the transience and insecurity of the splendid and brilliant life of Athens. till by an excess of the critical and judging faculty of sattwa. Politically the predominance of the individual was dangerous to the state and the evil might be checked but could not be mended by occasional resort to ostracism. Reason.The Karmayogin 295 hence their dislike to the mobile spirit of old democracy and their instinctive preference for the Spartan constitution in spite of its rigid. For that is a social period when the claims of the individual are being constantly balanced and adjusted in a manner which strongly resembles the replacement in the physical organism of waste tissue by sound. progress is constantly made. England with its rapid alternations of progress safeguarded by conservatism and conservatism vivified by progress . corrupted breath by fresh inhalations. bad blood by good. the excessively free and varied play of intellect turned out a corrodent which too rapidly ate away the old beliefs and left the people without any fixed beliefs at all. as far as is consistent with progress. the creative activity of rajas was decomposed and came to an end. As a result the Athenian social organism lost its vitality. justice and enlightened virtue which Socrates and his successors offered as a substitute. unprogressive and unintellectual character. The history of Athens may be summed up from the Vedic standpoint as rajas too rapidly developed destroying tamas and in its turn leading to a too rapid development of sattwa. Those communities have a better chance of survival which linger in the rajaso-tamasic stage. nor is it yet sattwic enough for society to subsist entirely or mainly by the strength of reason. could not take their place because the world was not. the old prejudices. but those irreducible demands of society which are necessary to its conservation. predilections.

rajasic by its reliance on the conflicts and final balance of passions and interests as the main agents of progress and conservation political and social. Morally it shows itself as selfless sympathy. As rajogune is the basic principle of desire. The growth of sattwa in a community will show itself by the growing predominance of these characteristics. Japan with her periods of splendid and magnificently fruitful progress and activity when she is absorbing new thoughts and new knowledge. it exists only in India and China. intellectually as disinterested enlightenment and dispassionate wisdom. tamasic by its irrational clinging to what it possesses not because it is inherently good or satisfying but simply because it is there. so sattwagune is the basic principle of knowledge. — Japan with the unlimited energy and personality of her individuals finely subservient to the life of the nation is an instance of a fundamentally rajaso-tamasic nation which has acquired by its assimilation of Indian and Chinese civilisation the immortalizing strength of sattwa. The English race is preeminently rajaso-tamasic. but as a conscious governing strength. Sattwa is physically the principle of retention which instead of merely reacting to impressions retains them as part of its inner life. it will present a more calm and unbroken record of culture and . followed by periods of calm and beautiful conservation in which she thoroughly assimilates what she has absorbed and suits it to her system. it is therefore the natural force which most helps consciousness to develop. for without it nothing could exist.296 Isha Upanishad: Part Two is an excellent example of the rajaso-tamasic community. The community will be more peaceful and unaggressive than the ordinary rajasic race or nation. tamasic by its habit of changing not in obedience to any inner voice of ethical aspiration or sense of intellectual fitness but in answer to the pressure of environment. Sattwa is present indeed in all communities as a natural force. It is sattwa that forms memory and evolves judgment. because it is part of its past and its national traditions. spiritually as a calm self-possessing peacefulness as far removed from the dull tamasic inertia as from the restless turbidity of rajas. but rajasic by the open field it gives to individual character and energy.

it will record its life-history not in wars and invasions. but in accordance with a high spiritual and intellectual ideal applied to life. The sattwic nation will avoid the dead conservatism of tamasic communities. its life is measured by the duration of dynasties or outward forms of government. it will endeavour to arrive at a living and healthy stability. The history of sattwic nations would be the story of the universal human self in its advance to knowledge and godhead. India and more recently Japan are the only . the sattwic leaven will show itself in an attempt to order society not to suit material requirements or in obedience to outward environments or under the pressure of inward passions and interests. it will avoid the restless progress of rajasic nations. We have not evolved even the rajaso-sattwic community in which the licentious play of individual activity and originality will be restrained not by the heavy brake of tamasic indolence. sympathy and wisdom. the community will try to preserve all the useful forces and institutions gathered by the past social evolution. not by the measure of the births and deaths of kings and the downfall of dynasties but by spiritual and intellectual evolutions and revolutions. high. neither destroying them nor leaving them intact. but harmonising and humanising them by the infusion of a higher ideal and vivifying them from time to time by a fresh review in the light of new experience and wider knowledge. enlightenment and universal sympathy. in which man may pursue undisturbed his nobler destiny. The farthest advance made by human evolution is the sub-rajaso-tamasic stage in which sattwa partially evolved tries to dominate its companions. the individual predominates. calm and peaceful. The true sattwic community in which life shall be naturally regulated by calm wisdom. ignorance and prejudice. not in conquests and defeats. but by the patient and tolerant control and guidance of the spirit of true science. The history of rajasic nations is a bundle of biographies. Most of all. The history of tamasic nations is a record of material impacts thrown out from the organism or suffered by it. And until sattwa is fully evolved. the Golden Age. Of this kind of community China.The Karmayogin 297 enlightenment. exists only as an Utopia or in the Aryan tradition of the Sattwayuga.

In China the tamasic element is very strong. even incessant national disaster. Sattwa is the principle of conservation. we have an unique and remarkable instance of sattwic. society and individual life. as we shall perceive. in one sense. rajasic liberty. The rajasic element is weaker but evident enough in the religious. the aggregativeness of the Chinese character which seems unable to live to itself and needs a guild. Fromsattwa springs the characteristic indestructibility which Chinese and Indian society. alone of historic civilizations. tamasic constraint and conservatism governs the arrangement of daily life. the low physical and emotional sensibility which permits the survival of a barbarous and senselessly cruel system of punishment. political liberty allowed to the individual and in the union of Mongolian industry and inventiveness with the democratic individualism which allows every man the chance his individual capacity and energy deserve. to save the community when it appears doomed to decay and oblivion. social polity. a fresh wave of life and strength. have evinced under the pressure of the ages and the shocks of repeated. The passive tamasic organism perishes by decay of its unrepaired tissues or disintegrates under the shock of outward forces against which it has not sufficient elasticity to react. But sattwic spirit in the rajaso-tamasic body is the nectar of the gods which makes for immortality. a high sattwic ideal and spirit dominate the national temperament. the passionate conservatism of the race. Sattwa finds its place in the high place immemorially assigned to wisdom. intellectual and. humanise and vivify all its life. China and India have suffered much for their . The restless rajasic organism dies by exhaustion of its too rapidly expended vitality and vigour.298 Isha Upanishad: Part Two known instances. progress and originality brilliantly abound in the affairs of the mind and spirit. rajasic. In India on the other hand. an organization or some sort of collective existence to support it. learning and culture and in the noble and perfect Buddhist-Confucian system of ethics and ideal of life which regulates Chinese politics. are striking evidences of prevalent tamas. institutions and return almost periodically. tamasic influences acting upon the community in almost equal degrees and working at high pressure side by side.

. we shall have to part with several notions long cherished by humanity. they have repeatedly undergone defeat and subjugation by the more restless and aggressive communities of the world. answers unfailingly the call for help and incarnating in its full season brings with it light. “For the deliverance of the good and the destruction of evil doers. The place of Religion in ethics. has moved forward. If the view of human development as set forth in the last two chapters is correct. has brought about disastrous deterioration. a condition abhorred by Nature and accursed by Heaven. One of these is the pristine perfection of man and his degradation from his perfect state by falling into the domination of sin. So long as the sattwic ideal is not renounced. But these two great Oriental civilizations are not likely to perish. This Semitic tradition passed from Judaism into Christianity and less .” Chapter IV. asserted their free individuality and resumed their just place in the forefront of the nations. for the first time flooded with sattwa as a distinct social influence by the liberating outburst of the French Revolution. At present both these great countries are under temporary obscuration. Preeminently sattwic is the Universal Self in man which if realized and held fast to. though sorely abused and pressed into the service of rajasic selfishness and tamasic materialism. it is always there to renew itself in extremity and to save. while Japan by keeping its rajasic energy intact has victoriously repelled the aggressor. God made man perfect but man by his own fault brought sin and death into the world. In India especially long continuation of foreign subjection. always they have conquered their conquerors.. Conquering Europe on the other hand. strength and healing. The sattwic impulse of the 18th century. they seem to be overweighted with tamas and passing through a process of disintegration and decay.The Karmayogin 299 premature evolution of the sattwic element. nor is the future likely to differ materially from the past. has yet been so powerful an agent to humanize and illuminate that it has given the world’s lead to the European. for the restoration of righteousness I am born from age to age.

The legend does not state that man was unfailingly virtuous by choice. . Yet it is doubtful whether the original legend which enshrined and prolonged this tradition. because being unable to distinguish between good and evil he could not choose evil of free choice and therefore had no sense of sin and no more responsibility for his actions than the pure animal. but by prohibitions which his environment imposes on him without his either understanding or caring to understand the reason for their imposition. they are bad or good. not between two conflicting internal assertions. to which the legend alludes. but it is still a standard not of right and wrong.300 Isha Upanishad: Part Two prominently into Mahomedanism became for a long time part and parcel of the fixed beliefs of half humanity. From the opposition of punished and unpunished evolves the opposition of licit and illicit. what my individual nature demands. Man was then innocent. and it is as much a necessity for him to refrain from them as to refrain from putting his hand in the fire lest he should be burned. But once the former begins. quite bears the interpretation which has been put on it. reasons the rajasic man. it supports rather than conflicts with the theory of trigunic development. should be allowed me”. the latter must in time follow. Certain things are forbidden to him. but of licit and illicit. Innocence of this kind is possible only in the primitive state of man and the description of man as naked and unashamed shows that it is precisely the primitive state of society before arts and civilization were developed. but that he was innocent because he did not yet know good and evil. apart from their legality. all others are allowed to him and he does them freely without questioning whether. If rightly understood. Sin comes by disobedience and disobedience by the assertion of an inner standard as against the external standard hitherto obeyed. the physical conflict must create its psychical counterpart. the struggle is between an external negation and an internal assertion. “What I desire. In this first stage of his evolution he is not guided by a law within himself. His fall from the state of innocence was the result of the growth of rajasic individuality in his mind which led him to assert his own will and desires and disobey the law imposed on him by an external Power.

not because it is infallible or perfect. The conscience of the Red Indian finds nothing immoral in murder and torture. the sanction is internal and individual. The indulgence of individual desire in disobedience to a general law is the origin of sin. it must be the same in all men. Originally the sanction which punishes or spares. With the rejection of this theory of an originally perfect humanity. Finally. It is therefore contrary to all experience to assert the divinity or infallibility of conscience. If morality is a growth. is external and social. the individual as judge of his own actions. the individual is his own judge. is the first necessity. in the higher stage of evolution.The Karmayogin 301 from the opposition of licit and illicit evolves the opposition of right and wrong. the tradition of an infallible inner conscience which reflects a divinely-ordained canon of absolute right and wrong must be also rejected. A man must be guided ordinarily by his moral sense. If conscience be a divine and infallible judge. when once evolved. place and circumstances. but because moral growth depends upon development from within and to this end the independent use of the “inner monitor”. society is the individual’s judge. The conscience of one age or country varies from the conscience of another age or country. allows or disallows. the moral sense is also a growth and conscience is nothing more than activity of the moral sense. the conscience of the modern civilised man vehemently condemns them. . Even in the same man conscience is an uncertain and capricious quantity changing and deciding inconsistently under the influence of time. approves or disapproves. but we know perfectly well that it is not.


in all of which one Lord is multitudinously the Inhabitant. in the knowledge of it by our minds. a life free from those ills of which humanity seems to be the eternal and irredeemable prisoner & victim. The problem of a perfect life upon earth. are the two poles of being between which our consciousness revolves. The Eternal seated sole in all His creations occupies the ever-shifting Universe and its innumerable whorls and knots of motion. Isha vasyam ´ jagat. for there alone can we find the root of the evil and the hint of the remedy. everything is His temple and mansion. The Inhabitant is the Lord. for Him and His enjoyment of the multiplicity & the unity of His being. This double or biune reality is existence. each called by us an object. he starts at once with the two supreme terms of which our existence seems to be composed and in a monumental phrase. is man. in the belief of the Vedantins. God and idam sarvam yat kincha jagatyam Nature. everything whatsoever that is moving thing in her that moves. from the God and the Titan in their dark or their luminous worlds to man and the insect that he crushes thoughtlessly under his feet. in the realisation of it by our whole nature and being is the key of escape for the victim of evil. if we go back to the fundamental nature of existence. the open householder in the mansion. he confronts them ´ ´ and sets them in their right & eternal relation. all were created and they have no other reason for their existence. Ish and Jagat. is life. Spirit and World.Ish and Jagat The Isha Upanishad in its very inception goes straight to the root of the problem the Seer has set out to resolve. From the brilliant suns to the rose and the grain of dust. cast into the bronze of eight brief but sufficient words. For habitation by the Lord is all this. the prisoner of limitation . He is the veiled deity in the temple. can only be solved. in this truth. They are here in the two words Ish & Jagat.

and for the movement from bondage to freedom. This relation of Nature & Spirit. this One must always be conceived as a double or biune term in which God is the reverse side of Nature. We who entangle ourselves in the modalities of Nature. This subjection and inconstancy of Nature is the secret of our bondage. World and God are one. regarding. Nature the obverse side of God. By rising to the God within us. on which the Seer fixes. realise the other pole of our existence. Nature is a fleeting & inconstant motion preserved by the harmonious fixity of the laws which govern its particular motions. ı Crossing over death. The indwelling God is the lord of His creations and not their servant or prisoner. occupying & enjoying self-consciousness. limitation and suffering. Mrityum t´rtwa amritam asnute. World is not a material shell in which Spirit is bound. so that He as soul. Spirit & Nature. the god of its self-temple. not their essential relation. In ´ this cosmic relation of Spirit to Nature the word Isha expresses the perfect and absolute freedom. On the other hand. occupy & enjoy. But for life. God the occupant. building up forms in His mobile extended selfconsciousness which He conceives as different from His still & eternal. the king of its self-empire. with which the Spirit envisages its objects and occupies its kingdom. is their practical. The distinction has been made by Spirit itself in its own being for the object ´ which the Seer expresses in the single word vasyam.304 Isha Upanishad: Part Two and death. God has thrown out His own being in the spatial & temporal movement of the Universe. — they are One unmoving ı swifter than mind. as a householder is lord of his dwelling-places to enter them and go forth from them . must. we enjoy immortality. may have an objective existence which it can regard. Nature the mansion. the householder of its selfmansion. we become free. the subject. death. whether bound or free. unqualified Spirit or God. single & indivisible. nor is Spirit a roving breath of things ensnared to which the object it inspires is a prison-house. anejad ekam manaso jav´yas. eternally uninfringed. Conscious existence is Brahman. For God is ´ freedom. liberated from the bondage of the world and the snare of death. World & God. God is immortality. if we would escape from her confounding illusions.

If. shackle or tie whatsoever. but even when he forgets. is placed designedly at the opening of this great strain of Vedantic thought to rule as with a mastertone all its rhythms. not slave. by the dualities of grief & joy. a willed illusion of bondage. we appear as though bound. Behind all the veils of his nature. by the fixed nature of our minds and bodies. therefore inalienable. he can modify them. he can reject. but free. omnipotence. The game of the world-existence is not a game of bondage alone. a self-chosen play at bondage. by the nature of the visible universe. and the user is not bound to his instruments. majesty and freedom of the transcendent Soul of things within. but by identifying the Lord of the universe with the Spirit in all bodies it asserts the greatness. . freedom and secret omnipotence of the soul of man that seems here to wander thus painfully entangled and bewildered. ´ This word Isha. may seem to forget his freedom. then. The very universe itself It is free at any moment to destroy and recreate. it is recoverable even in appearance. It is the key to everything that follows in the eighteen verses of the Upanishad. pleasure and pain. Never lost except in appearance. the freedom is still there. Grief. He is the free and unopposed master of His creations. this divine inhabitant within. It is Maya. by the chain of cause and effect or by any other chain. he can change. Not only does it contradict all mechanical theories of the Universe and assert the preexistence. but equally of freedom & the liberation from bondage.Ish and Jagat 305 at his will and to pull down what he has built up whenever it ceases to please him or be serviceable to his needs. Like a child pretending to be this or that and identifying itself with its role the Purusha. destroy and rebuild whatever it pleases in this universe. or it is Lila. not bound. God is not bound. so the Spirit is free to enter or go forth from its bodies and has power to build. the Lord. self-existent. the soul in man also is master. the bondage is a semblance and can be nothing more. death and limitation are instruments of some activity it is here to fulfil for its own delight.


always increasingly addicted to the secondary process of knowledge by logic & intellectual ratiocination. strike the casual reader today as a mass of childish. Those that neither helped nor hindered the polemical purpose of the exegete were briefly paraphrased or often left in a twilit obscurity. its preoccupation has been rather with the later opinions of Sutras & Bhashyas than with the early truth of Scripture. began to dislocate & dismember the manysided harmony of ancient Vedic truth & parcel it out into schools of thought & systems of metaphysics. reveal a depth of knowledge & delicacy of subtle thought almost miraculous in its wealth & quality.The Secret of the Isha It is now several thousands of years since men ceased to study Veda and Upanishad for the sake of Veda or Upanishad. For the language of the Vedantic writers ceased to be understood. increasingly drawn away from the true & primary processes of knowledge by experience and direct perception. symbols of thought. to serve as weapons in the polemic disputes of metaphysicians. shades of expression became antique & unintelligible. more & more intellectualised. Veda & Vedanta ceased to be guides to knowledge & became merely mines & quarries from which convenient texts might be extracted. when once fathomed. The inconvenient texts were ignored or explained away by distortion of their sense or by depreciation of their value. Worst of all. Hence passages which. Rubbish & babblings of humanity’s nonage an eminent Western scholar has termed them not knowing that it was not the text but his understanding of it that was rubbish & the babblings of ignorance. obscure & ignorant fancies characteristic of an unformed and immature thinking. regardless of context. the spiritual & psychological experiences of the Vedic seekers were largely lost to India as the obscurations of the Iron Age grew upon her. Ever since the human mind in India. their figures. .

This was the course that the stream of thought followed among us. its sides of feeling & emotion. in the language of intellectual ratiocination. narrowed by a more exclusive & self-abandoned fervour. Our forefathers who discovered or received Vedic truth. Vedic knowledge begins to be lost & the practice of life & symbol based upon it are soon replaced by formalised action & unintelligent rite & ceremony. they understood by the instrumentality of the intuitive reason. replace. — otherwise the imagination and the wishes pollute the purity of its action. as we may say. & what they thus experienced.308 Isha Upanishad: Part Two as her knowledge contracted. did not arrive at it either by intellectual speculation or by logical reasoning. The capacity for tapasya belongs to the Golden Age of man’s fresh . For the maintenance of the intuitive reason as the ordinary instrument of knowledge demands as its basis an iron moral & intellectual discipline. according to the sense of our Indian tradition. a colossal disinterestedness of thinking. shorn of its fullness. remained. But even here it remained dim & obscure. but of the mass of the Upanishads we understand less than we do of the Egyptian hieroglyphics and of the knowledge these great writings hold enshrined we possess less than we do of the wisdom of the ancient Egyptians. Not altogether lost indeed for its sides of knowledge & practice still lived in cave & hermitage. Dabhram evapi twam vettha Brahmano rupam! I have said that the increasing intellectualisation of the Indian mind has been responsible for this great national loss. — by spiritual & psychological observation. But a time came when men felt an imperative need to give an account to themselves & to others of this supreme & immemorial Vedic truth in the terms of logic. however it may be with the Vedas we have understood & possess the Upanishads! We have understood a few principal texts & even those imperfectly. quickened even in the throbbing intensity of the Bhakti Marga and the violent inner joys of countless devotees. They attained it by actual & tangible experience in the spirit. Without tapasya there can be no Veda. Yet we think. dimmed in its ancient and radiant purity. her virtue dwindled & her old spiritual valiancy lost its daring & its nerve. dethrone it and wear flamboyantly its name & mask.

— comes & cuts away whatever she can. whose chief article it is that no just demand of the soul shall remain always unsatisfied. the divine law. and with tapasya. armed with her sword of doubt & denial (for it is the nature of intellectual Reason that beyond truth of objective appearance she cannot confidently & powerfully affirm anything. The ancient Indian mind felt instinctively — I do not say it realised or argued consciously — the necessity. the basis.The Secret of the Isha 309 virility. came indeed but it was prevented from destroying spirituality as European negation destroyed it for a time in the eighteenth & nineteenth centuries by the immense & unshakeable hold the work of the philosophers had taken upon the Indian temperament. it fades as humanity ages & the cycle takes its way towards the years that are of Iron. but must always remain with regard to fundamental truth agnostic and doubtful. But at any rate she clears the field for sounder work. Reason arrives as the Angel of the Lord. her lowest “perhaps”). of stating to the intellectual reason so much of Vedic truth as could still be grasped and justifying it logically. So firm was this grasp that even the great Masters of negation — for Brihaspati who affirmed matter was a child & weakling in denial compared with the Buddhists. since the need of man’s being is truth & light. & even uses the ruins of old truth as stones for its irregular building. often losing herself in a fury of negation. divine knowledge. also collapses or dwindles. Buddhism. — could not wholly divest themselves of this characteristic Indian . The Six Darshanas were the result of this mighty labour. But such an usurpation can never endure. The place of truth is then taken by superstition. the inevitable rush of negation. her highest word of affirmation “probably”. irrational error that takes its stand upon the place where truth lies buried builds its tawdry & fantastic palace of pleasure upon those concealed & consecrated foundations. the superstructure. she makes tabula rasa for a more correct writing. denying superstition indeed. raises up Reason to clear away Superstition. as the one way to avoid such a reign of negation. but doubting & denying also even Truth because it has been a foundation for superstition or formed with some of its stones part of the building. For.

supreme glory as it is now held and highest attainment of Indian mentality. self-grasped & successful beyond parallel. it had from the standpoint of Vedantic truth three capital disadvantages. But admirable & necessary as was this vast work of intellectual systemisation.310 Isha Upanishad: Part Two realisation that subjective experience is the basis of existence & the objective only an outward term of that existence. subtle. .

but the detritus and uncertain reformation of a great era of knowledge. — if we take the literal meaning of the word Sadhu. the Hindu theory would say. of the West. into modern language — more rationalistic but. simpler. — even as a broken statue by Phidias or Praxiteles or a fragment of an Athenian dramatist is The six chapters comprising this work have been numbered [1] to [6] by the editors. the Saturnia regna. the Golden Age. balance and adjustment which lives for us only in tradition but in a universal tradition. that is to say. Totemistic. not necessarily more accurate — this would mean that the civilisation by which we live is not the result of a recent hotfooted gallop forward from the condition of the Caribbee and Hottentot. the Sadhus. the age of harmony. these Animistic. Translated. What then are these savage races. these epochs of barbarism. disintegration and increasing confusion in which man is labouring forward towards a new harmony which will appear when the spirit of God descends again upon mankind in the form of the Avatara called Kalki. again. these crude conditions of society? Partly.Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad [1] The Isha Upanishad The Puranic account supposes us to have left behind the last Satya period. originally deeper. our Satyayuga or age of the recovered Veda. these propitiatory sacrifices. these mythologies. Sri Aurobindo’s own chapter divisions have been reproduced as written in the manuscript. let me say. . the ignorant & fragmentary survival of defaced & disintegrated beliefs & customs. who are strivers after perfection. dark and confused and establishes the reign of the saints. truer than the modern. Naturalistic and superstitious beliefs. destroys all that is lawless. and to be now in a period of enormous breakdown. again. those.

crumbling into the animal and almost into the clod by that disintegration through inertia which to the Hindu idea is the ordinary road to disappearance into the vague & rough material of Nature out of which we were made. the descent frightfully easy. all energetic spirits withdrawn from our midst and we ourselves wholly occupied with immediate material needs. would be in danger of descending to the same level as the Maori or the Basuto. filled with its flaming glories the sun and arranged the courses of the planets. it has an infinite capacity both for the . a reeling back into the beast. in them. things mindless & helpless & crude. The spirit of man. The mythologies are ancient traditions. Even in such a descent something is preserved. man hurled down from his ascent and returning from the sattwic or intelligent state into the tamasic. a strenuous effort. unless indeed we are entirely cut off from the great centres of civilisation. An advanced race. an enormous movement of communal atavism brought about by worldwide destructive forces in whose workings both Nature and man have assisted. there is the intelligent Force that has built the Himalayas. Fetishism remembers barbarously the great Vedic dogma that God is everywhere and God is all and that the inert stone & stock.312 Isha Upanishad: Part Two at once simpler & nobler or more beautiful and perfect than the best work of the moderns. The ascent of man. though the periods of attainment & rest yield to us ages of a golden joy. — partly. according to the Vedic idea. is not a facile and an assured march. losing its intelligent classes and all its sources of intelligence and subjected to these conditions. is capable of everything wherever it is placed. The savage and the cannibal are merely the human beast. too. Nature-worship is another side of the same ancient truth. according to this theory. allegories & symbols. for instance — could under proper conditions develop the intellectual activity and high moral standard of the most civilised races. on the contrary. the ascent difficult. Animism is the obscure memory of an ancient discipline which put us into spiritual communion with intelligent beings and forces living behind the veil of gross matter sensible to our limited material organs. it is a steep. On the other hand individuals of the most degraded race — a son of African cannibals. are also He.

awaiting its confirmation or refutation and standing always on the facts of Veda. its premature arrangements of the eras of earth. so expressed. collected or redeveloped fragments. always deep & leisurely thinkers. We. Such is the Hindu explanation of the world and. animal and man.Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad 313 highest and the lowest. but because he submits to the matter in which he dwells and matter is dominated by its surrounding contacts. uncertain and liable to these astounding relapses. I can find nothing in it that is irrational. ought not to be carried away by its eager and immature conclusions. may be impatient of it. possibly even a more potent kind. — but it may have had others of a higher. Vedanta & Yoga. a calm. I shall suppose that the real meaning & justification of Purana. Modern research is yet in its infancy. neither need or indeed can we suppose it to have been at all on the model of the modern Hindu. Itihasa & Yoga can only be discovered by a rediscovery of their old foundation and harmonising secret in the true sense of the Veda. therefore his progress is slow. heirs of that ancient and wise tradition. Other means of receiving information and the habit of thinking for oneself might have . It is probable that this ancient culture had none of those material conveniences on which we vaunt ourselves. Western thought with its dogmatic materialism. and in this light I shall proceed. Tantra. We need not understand by an advanced civilisation a culture or a society at all resembling what our modern notions conceive to be the only model of a civilised society — the modern European. experienced & thoughtful nation. I will take this Puranic theory as a working hypothesis and suppose at least that there was a great Vedic age of advanced civilisation broken afterwards by Time and circumstance and of which modern Hinduism presents us only some preserved. We can afford at least to suspend judgment. but I see no reason why we Hindus. its rigid insistence on its own hastily formed idea of evolution. freed from the Puranic language & symbols which make it vivid & concrete to us. (Perfection of the memory and the non-accumulation of worthless books might have dispensed with the necessity of large libraries. should so long as there is no definite disproof rule it out of court in obedience to Western opinion.

reserving nothing for an egoistic satisfaction. that Vishnu in the Satya incarnates as Yajna. in the language of religion. but in the Treta he descends [as] the Chakravarti Raja. — would become unnecessary. given certain spiritual conditions which would constitute. for which much might be said and many indications collected. the elaborate arrangements of modern administration. that is to say as the divine Master in man to whom men offer up all their actions as a sacrifice. But it is unnecessary to my present purpose to consider these speculations. or even an entire absence of government. even the wireless telegraph unnecessary. — in some savage races. It is sufficient that an ancient society might differ in every respect from our modern communities and yet be called advanced if it possessed . duties and institutions by an external compulsion representing the community’s collective will began in the Bronze Age with the institution of government in Kingship. The organisation of Government may have been surprisingly different from our own and yet not inconsistent with civilisation. many of ours will seem incredible and shocking to future ages. its sword of justice & defence. The old tradition runs that in the Satyayuga there was neither the desire nor the need of modern devices. no doubt.) The social customs of the time might seem strange or even immoral to our modern sanskaras.314 Isha Upanishad: Part Two prevented the growth of anything corresponding to the newspaper. there may have been a simple communism without over-government. — whose whole basis is human depravity & the needs of an Iron Age. — just as. — for it is at least conceivable that. — it is even possible that the men of those times would have looked down on that crude and vulgar organ. — might make the telegraph. large armies or wars of aggression. a kingdom of Heaven on earth or a government of God among men. Possibly the power of telepathy organised — it seems to persist disorganised. its preserver of the dharma gathers a number of human communities under his unifying sway. a human freedom & natural coordination such as Tolstoy & other European idealists have seen again in their dreams. the King & standing forward as sustainer of society’s righteousness. The Vishnu Purana tells us. conformably with this idea. the organised arrangement of men’s actions.

A worship of the personified Sun. mostly in the Dwapara & Kali when. half of it barbarous foolishness and half of it sublime philosophy such as we might expect from a highly gifted nation emerging out of a very primitive culture into a premature and immature activity of the higher intellectual faculties. Wind. since a great mass of Vedic material has been lost to us. For it professes to have fixed for the Vedas a meaning which will bring them well within the savage theory and for the Vedanta an ambiguous character. cosmology and material origins & relations generally and mixed up with a great mass .Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad 315 a deep. Not therefore the conception of semi-savages or half civilised philosophers. For I have only to inquire whether we have not at any rate some part of such a profound and organised knowledge in the surviving Upanishads and the still extant Sanhitas of the Veda. The whole of it we cannot reconstitute. chiefly. but the disjecta membra of a profound spiritual culture. Sky and other natural phenomena by means of a system of animal sacrifices. we need expect from them no picture of that ancient civilisation. relations and activities. a high and complex Yogic discipline and a well-founded theory of our relations with the unseen is what we shall expect in Veda & Vedanta. men sought the aid of the written word & the material device to eke out their failing powers & their declining virility of mind & body. for the great mass of that knowledge has been lost to us with the other numberless Sanhitas of Veda. It is here that Comparative Philology intervenes. psychology. scientific and organised knowledge and if it synthetised in the light of large & cultured conceptions all human institutions. this is the Veda. Moon. Dawn. possibly beyond hope of recovery until Vishnu descends once more as the Varaha into the sea of oblivion and lifts up the lost Veda on his mighty tusks into the light of our waking consciousness and on to the firm soil of our externalised knowledge. Fire. high religious thinking & profound Monistic ideas forcibly derived from Vedic Nature-worship marred by the crudest notions about physics. — written long afterwards. This is all with which I am here and at present concerned. nor even the whole of its knowledge.

our preoccupation with these works is misplaced. supported by the authority of protagonists of that enlightenment and science. We must put them away as lumber of the past. for we shall be in excellent company. not on the ancient Rishis but on the modern philosophers and logicians. as for that matter many of us are well inclined to do. for example. In ethnology the evidence of philology is increasingly disregarded. not authorities for our thought or lamps for our steps in life. this is the Upanishads. interesting records of the beginnings and crude origins of religion and philosophy but records only. A long time ago European scholars comparing what are now called the Indo-Aryan tongues were struck . If that be so. When we examine the work of the philologists. We must base ourself not on the Vedas and Upanishads. our suspicions will receive an ample confirmation. Many great scientific thinkers deny the rank of a science to philology or are so much impressed by the failure of this branch of nineteenth-century inquiry that they doubt or deny even the possibility of a science of language. Such an abandonment is only obligatory on us after we have fixed the precise scientific value of these philological conclusions. but only a few glimpses of it eked out by random speculation sometimes of a highly ingenious and forcible character but sometimes also in the last degree hasty and flimsy. The ethnologists tend to disregard altogether. Shankara and Buddha. on Badarayana. We need not therefore yield a servile assent to the conclusions of the philologists from any fear of being denounced as deniers of modern enlightenment and modern science. Kapila. We are too apt in India to take the European sciences at their own valuation. but. for we shall find no evidence of any true scientific method.316 Isha Upanishad: Part Two of unintelligible mystical jargon. the view of this modern naturalistic interpretation of which so much is made. the philological distinction between Aryan and Dravidian with its accompanying corollary of an immigration from the sub-Arctic regions or the regions of the Hindu-Kush and to affirm the existence of a single homogeneous Indo-Afghan race in immemorial occupation of the peninsula. The Europeans themselves are often more sceptical.

careful and searching analysis of the origins and development even of the Aryan tongues resulted from this brilliant beginning. One or two bye-laws of the modification of sounds as between the Aryan languages were worked out. the identity of a certain number of terms as between these kindred tongues well-established and a few theories hazarded or made out as to the classification not scientific but empirical of the various extant dialects of man. no clear light on the associations between sound and idea. they thought. In its application to the Vedas modern philology has followed two distinct methods. derivation of words and the observation of the use of words. the philological method proper and the scholastic. From comparative philology in its present imperfect & rudimentary condition all that Vedic research can gain is the discovery of a previously unsuspected identity of meaning as between some peculiarly Vedic words or forms or the Vedic use of Sanscrit words or forms and the sense of the same vocable or form. not scientific and cannot command from us an implicit assent. in other Aryan tongues. And indeed there was a coincidence & a discovery which might have been as important to human knowledge as the fall of Newton’s apple and the discovery of gravitation. “Pitar. patˆ r. mother”. was the seed of a new science and the proof of an affiliation of different languages to our parent source which might lead to the explanation of the whole development of human speech. no wide. Wherever Philology goes beyond this limit. father”. vater. Unfortunately. e ˆ pater. mater. — ee here. Philology is an enquiry that has failed to result in the creation of a science. whether intact or modified. On the contrary the after results were disappointingly meagre. also. its work is conjectural. No discovery of the laws governing the structure of language. “matar. mutter. mˆ tˆ r. But this great possibility never flowered into actuality.Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad 317 by the close resemblance amounting to identity of common domestic and familiar terms in these languages. I may instance — my limits forbid more detail . European scholars permit themselves a licence of speculation and suggestion which may sometimes be fruitful but which renders their work continually unconvincing.

Until. father” as the master-clue to the identities of these languages. The example is typical. and then of the other Aryan & Dravidian tongues. but I believe that it is discoverable. the common assumption in Europe and among English-educated Indians that the researches of European . more fruitful identity. a tertiary result of a much deeper. But here also we may be permitted to differ from their arguments and reject their conclusions. But this resemblance of familiar terms is only an incident. a task which demands great leisure and a gigantic industry. The scholars erred because they took the identity “pitar. Is a more certain application of philology to the Veda at all possible? I believe it is. it is found and followed up. pater. He derives this ancient form without an atom or even a shadow of proof or probability from an original uruloka or urvaloka. These scholars are on firmer ground when they attempt to establish new meanings of words by legitimate derivation from Sanscrit roots and careful observation of the sense suitable to a particular word in the various contexts in which it occurs.318 Isha Upanishad: Part Two — Max Muller’s extraordinary dealings in his Preface to the Rig Veda with the Vedic form uloka (for loka). not only is the new meaning assigned to particular words conjectural but the interpretation of the context on which its correctness depends is also very often either doubtful or conjectural. The real clue is not yet discovered. if not of human speech generally in its various families. I believe that by following a different clue we can arrive at least at the beginnings of a true science which will explain in its principles & details the origin. I repeat. We are moving in a field of uncertainty and the imposing careful method and systematisation of the European scholars must not blind us to the fact that it is a method of conjecture and a systematisation of uncertainties. rejecting cavalierly the obvious & fruitful Tamil parallel uloka — the same word with the same meaning — on the strength of an argument which proceeds from his ignorance of the Tamil tongue and its peculiar phonetic principles. I am content to insist on the inconclusiveness of the initial work of the philologists. more radical. structure and development first of the Sanscrit. For their work is conjectural. vater. however.

But the 1 Sri Aurobindo did not write a chapter number.Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad 319 scholarship have fixed for us correctly. was at first general but afterwards. recording a fulfilment of Vedic knowledge. The word. they thought. because the notions generated by it are a stumbling block to the proper approach to Vedanta. I refuse. [2] Chapter [ ]1 I have combated the supremacy of the European theory — not seeking actually to refute it but to open the door for other possibilities. originally not a session of speculative inquirers (the ingenious & plausible German derivation) but an affirmation and arrangement of essential truths & principles. conclusively & finally the meaning of Veda and the origin & process of development of Vedanta. In any case such a systematisation of Vedic Knowledge was what these Rishis thought themselves to be effecting. Upanishad. itself meant. The field is still open. Under their influence we come to the Upanishads with a theory of their origin and in a spirit hostile to the sympathetic insight to which alone they will render up their secret. giving shape to the culmination to which the sacred hymns pointed. my assent to the European idea of Veda and Vedanta and hold myself free to propound another interpretation and a more searching theory. — the true & correct idea. — Ed. is an assumption not yet justified and until it is justified no one is bound by it who does not choose to be bound. and bringing out the inner and essential meaning of the practical details of the Karmakanda. at this stage. the last word still remains to be pronounced. They were. The very sense of the word Vedanta indicates clearly the aim of the seers who composed the Upanishads as well as the idea they entertained. I believe. it would almost seem. by predominant practice. The sense. I would suggest. applied exclusively to the Brahmi Upanishad. . of their relations to the Veda. therefore. in which we have the systematisation particularly of the Brahmavidya.

so that these sublimest of all Scriptures have become. But I am convinced that the claim was neither a pretence nor an error. Shankara left so much of his text unexplained or put it by as inferior truth for the ignorant. It is because we do not understand the Vedas that three fourths of the Upanishads are a sealed book to us. By ignoring the Vedas we lose all but a few rays of the glorious sun of Vedanta. — Max Muller emitted his wonderful utterance about the babblings of humanity’s nonage. Yaska had his own interpretations of their antique diction. Only when we thoroughly know the great Vedic ideas in their totality shall we be able entirely to appreciate the profound. but none of them understood what Yajnavalkya and Ajatashatru understood. I believe the Vedas to hold a sense which neither mediaeval India nor modern Europe has grasped. much has been insecurely grasped and superficially comprehended. We shall yet have to go back from the Nature-worship and henotheism of the Europeans. Vivekananda found himself compelled to admit his non-comprehension of the Vedantins’ cosmological ideas & mention them doubtfully as curious speculations. Even of the little we think we can understand. but which was perfectly plain to the early Vedantic thinkers. beyond the mythology and ceremonial of Sayana. more often a ground for philosophic wranglings than an illumination to the soul. Max Muller has understood one thing by the Vedic mantras. It is only Veda that can give us a complete insight into Vedanta. .320 Isha Upanishad: Part Two modern theory denies the claim and compels us to approach the Upanishads from a different standpoint and both to judge and to interpret them by the law of a mentality which is as far as the two poles asunder from the mentality of the writers. Sayana has understood another. harmonious and grandiose system of thought of our early forefathers. latterly. beyond even the earlier intimations of Yaska and recover — nor is it the impossible task it seems — the knowledge of Yajnavalkya and Ajatashatru. We shall therefore certainly fail to understand the workings of their minds even if we are right in our history. For want of this key profound scholars have fumbled and for want of this guidance great thinkers gone astray.

Surya was also a god of a higher moral & spiritual function & Agni possessed of diviner & less palpable masteries. unknown & vague. It is for the fulfilment of the loftiest spiritual ends . but they were not — and this is the important point — simply the god of the sun and simply the master of fire. Is it to the earthly Fire and the material Sun that the Rishi lifts his mighty song? Does he pray to Surya to give him the warmth of his beams or to drive away night from the sky? Does he entreat Agni to nourish the sacrificial fire or to receive for the gods on his flaming tongues the clarified butter and the Soma-juice? Not even for a moment. ethics and psychology. two things are certain that the Vedantic Rishis believed themselves to be in possession of the system of their Vedic predecessors and that they surely did not regard this system as merely a minute collection of ritual practices or merely an elaborate worship of material Nature-Powers. Surya was to them the god of the Sun. mighty & subtle. The bulk of this poem is occupied with the solution of problems which involve the most abstruse and ultimate questions of metaphysics.Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad 321 But whether this view is sound or unsound. Minds that saw the world steadily as a whole. but rather to Surya to remove — from the sight of his mind — the distracting brilliance which veils from mankind the highest truth and form of things. but because of the nature & origin of the sun. although deep. They were not even merely a Something behind both. Agni they regarded as the master of fire. to enable him to realise his perfect identity with God and to Agni to put aside this siege of the devious attractions of ignorance and desire and raise our kind to that sublime felicity reserved for purified souls. without any lowering of tone to appeal with passion and power not to some Supernal Power but to Surya. yet after a series of profound and noble pronouncements on these deep problems the Upanishad turns. to Yajnavalkya or to Max Muller. whether we decide that the sense of those ancient writings was best known to the ancient Hindus or to the modern Europeans. suddenly. not even by allusion. I will cite the single example of the Isha Upanishad in support of my point. to Agni. without any consciousness of descent. they did not repel that worship or disown that ritual.

322 Isha Upanishad: Part Two that he calls upon Surya. the priest. the Vedas. We are in the presence of an established system of spiritual knowledge and an ordered belief in which matter. this is not the limping blacksmith Hephaistos. no extraordinary intellectual compromise and vague henotheism. the full of rich inspirations. as I believe. we shall have some clue to the system of the early Vedantins and at the same time. master of this sun & its beams (that is also evident) but master too of the soul’s illumination. I must deal with it before I close this introductory portion & pass to the methods & substance of the Upanishads. to the genuine significance and spiritual value of that ancient & eternal bedrock of Hinduism. Some. since the utmost respect in intellectual matters ought to be paid to the king of the day even when we seek to persuade him to abdicate. hota kavikratuh satyas chitrasravastamah — agnih purvebhir rishibhir idyo nutanair uta. But European scholars have their own explanation of the development of this remarkable speculative system out of the superstitious ritual and unintelligent worship which is all they find in the Vedas and. mind and spirit are connected and coordinated by the common action of great divine powers. master no doubt of this fire and its helpful & consuming flames. It is held that there was a development of religious thought from polytheism to henotheism and from henotheism to pantheism which we can trace to some extent in the Vedas themselves and of which the Upanishads are the culmination. the true. This is not Helios Hyperion but another Vivusvan. notably the Indian disciples of European scholarship — interpreting these ancient movements by the light of our very different modern intellectuality or pushed by the . it is for support in the noblest moral victories that he appeals to Agni. sa no dhiyah prachodayat. Here is no lapse of a great philosophic mind into barbarous polytheistic superstition. Agni adorable to the sages of the past. but master also of purified & illuminated action and force. adorable to the great minds of today. no material and primitive Nature-worship. the seer. but another Hiranyaretas. When we know according to what idea of cosmic principle Surya and Agni could be at once material gods and great spiritual helpers.

in the agnosticism of Buddha. Haeckel & Huxley — that we have at one fell blast Graeco-Roman philosophy. . Hegel & Berkeley. But are such ideas as sound as they are ingenious? are they as true as they are exhilarating? One may surely be permitted to entertain some doubt! I profess myself wholly unable to find any cry of revolutionary protest. Protestant Reformation & modern rationalistic tendency anticipated by the single movement from Janaka to Buddha.2 These are indeed exhilarating notions and they have been attractively handled — some of them can be read. developed with great lucidity and charm in that remarkable compilation of European r discoveries and fallacies. Nothing indeed can be more ingenious and inspiriting. any note of rationalism in the Upanishads. It would almost seem as if this old Indian movement contains in itself at one & the same time the old philosophic movement of [the Greeks]. nothing more satisfactory at once to the patriotic imagination and our natural human yearning for the reassuringly familiar. 2 The following sentence was written in the top margin of the manuscript page. M. Its place of insertion was not marked: One would sometimes almost think that this upheaval of thought anticipated at once Plato & Empedocles.. Romesh Chandra Dutt’s History of Ancient Indian Civilisation. they affirm the gods.Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad 323 besetting Occidental impulse to search in our Indian origins for parallels to European history — even assert that the Upanishads represent a protestant and rationalistic movement away from the cumbrous ritual. it is the method of intuition and revelation expressed in a language and with a substance that might be characterised rather as the language of mysticism than of rationality. Erasmus and Melanchthon. Hume. the polytheistic superstition and the blind primitive religiosity of the Vedas and towards a final rationalistic culmination in the six Darshanas. Kant. in the atheism of Charvaka & in the loftiness of the modern Adwaita philosophy. Luther’s Protestant reformation and the glories of modern free thought. I can find something one might almost call rationalism in Shankara’s commentary — but an Indian rationalism entirely different in spirit from its European counterpart. Luther. But in the Upanishads the whole method is suprarational. These sages do not protest against polytheism.

not this to which men devote themselves. — occur in the later hymns. — it is generally supposed that such a development is proved. We have enough to be proud of in our ancient thought & speculation without insisting on finding an exact anticipation of modern knowledge or modern thought & religion in these early Scriptures written thousands of years ago in the dim backwards of our history. — in which the language is nearest to modern Sanscrit. of the Kena Upanishad given this sense by reading the modern sense of upasana. But that theory also I cannot accept. worship. The theory of a natural and progressive development of Pantheistic ideas is far more rational and probable than this adhyaropa of European ideas & history onto the writings of the ancient world. but where does the Rigveda itself assert any such efficacy? From this single circumstance no protestant movement against ritual and sacrifice can be inferred. — those that are recognised as such. nedam yad idam upasate. I have heard the phrase.324 Isha Upanishad: Part Two These spiritual Titans do not protest against ritual and ceremony. at least possible that we do not find philosophical ideas in the more ancient hymns merely because we are not mentally prepared to find them there. It is. however. Not understanding their obscure and antique diction we interpret conjecturally with a confidence born of modern theories. they insist on the necessity of ritual and ceremony. led by our preconceived ideas to grasp only at what. but quite another significance. But even this seems to me more than we can either infer or hazard without more light on the significance of early Vedic worship & the attitude on the subject of the Vedic Rishis. ought to be the primitive notions of a half-savage . into the old Vedantic text. It can easily be shown from other passages in the Upanishads that upasate here has not the sense of religious worship. Because the clearly philosophical passages in the Vedas. we conceive. but at the most we can imagine rather than deduce a spiritual movement embracing while it exceeded ritual and sacrifice. It is true that they deny emphatically the sufficiency of material sacrifices for the attainment of the highest. It is also true that certain scattered expressions have been caught at by Theistic minds as significant of a denial of polytheistic worship.

then. Where is the indication of any other than a Vedic origin for this well-appointed metaphysics. They quote Vedic authority. cosmology. appeal to Vedic ideas. — is inadmissible except on conclusive evidence. The first suggestion — it has. Any indications of more developed religious motives. been made. But I find in the Upanishads abounding indications of a preexisting philosophical system. persistent & all-pervading a mistake to have been committed by thinkers of so high a capacity? Or when. — either they were consciously innovating under a pretence of Vedic orthodoxy or else quite honestly they were reading their own notions into a text which meant something entirely different. if they exist. will from this method get no chance of revealing themselves & no quarter even if they insisted on lifting their luminous heads out of the waves of oblivion. But there are also certain positive considerations. minute & careful at least & to my experience profound as well as elaborate. we have on the contrary no choice but to recognise their presence. How came so colossal.Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad 325 humanity. The Vedantic thinkers positively believed that they were proceeding on a Vedic basis. We cannot then say that there was no philosophy in the earlier & obscurer hymns unless we are sure that we have rightly interpreted their difficult language. If it were only a matter of textual citation or a change of religious notions. I think. Either. The study of Veda is throughout considered as the almost indispensable preliminary for the understanding of Vedanta. under what impulsion & by whom was this great & careful system originated & developed? Where shall . science. inconsistent with spiritual greatness & that frank honesty. there would be no great difficulty in accepting the theory of an unconscious intellectual fiction. In hymns with an almost modern diction. evidently thinking themselves standing on the secure rock of Veda. the knowledge of Veda that is presupposed. they were indulging in a disingenuous fiction. the second deserves consideration. as has often been done even by great & sincere intellects. arjavam. on which the nation prided itself. psychology? Everywhere it is the text of the Veda that is alluded to or quoted.

scientific or psychological knowledge which the author thinks himself entitled to take for granted. not a beginning. very soon dawn upon our minds that these works are of a very different nature from the speculative experiments they are generally supposed to be. — a method still open to us — it will. not assisting at a starting-point. — its initial steps. its gradual clarifying. If we do not prejudge their more recondite ideas as absurd. especially if we can renew those experiences by the system they themselves used. We shall find that we are standing at a goal. contain these beginnings or even most of the separate data of these early mental sciences. But it is also possible that the Vedas themselves when properly understood. It is possible that the old teachers of Vedanta were acting quite rationally & understood their business better than we understand it for them when they expected a knowledge of Veda from their students. not the breath of life for a body yet to come into being. not dogmatically. They represent neither a revolt nor a fresh departure. just as a modern thinker addressing educated men on the ultimate generalisations of Science takes for granted their knowledge of the more important data and ideas accepted by modern men. Line after line. passage after passage indicates an unexpressed metaphysical. But the longer I study these profound compositions. It is a consummation. . All this mass of thought so taken for granted must have had a previous existence and history. if we try sympathetically to enter into the thoughts & beliefs of these Rishis. the less I feel able to accept this common and very natural hypothesis.326 Isha Upanishad: Part Two we find any documents of that speculation. its stronger & more assured progress? The Upanishads are usually supposed themselves to be such documents. The form of the Upanishads is the mould not of an initial speculation but of an ultimate thinking. I think. It is indeed possible that it was developed between the time of the Vedas and the appearance of these Vedantic compositions but left behind it no substantial literary trace of its passage and progress. sometimes even insisting on this preliminary knowledge. to understand what precise facts or experiences stand behind their peculiar language. the system of Yoga. the soul of an existing body.

pavaka. it seems to me. even Sarasvati. dhiyo visva virajati. — that minds so much closer to the Vedas in time and in the possibility of spiritual affinity may have known better the meaning of their religion than the inhabitant of different surroundings and of another world of thought speculating millenniums afterwards in the light of possibly fanciful Greek and German analogies. but because the Veda contained that basis of experimental knowledge upon which the generalisations of Vedanta were built. it seems to me that the Europeans are demonstrably wrong in laying so predominant a stress on the material aspects of the Vedic gods. maho arnas. Surya. Indra have great psychical functions. a considerable chance — I must lay stress again and more strongly on a suggestion already hazarded. I find Varuna and Mitra to be mainly moral and not material powers. but of a great purifying. Agni. in whom the scholars insist on seeing. I am even prepared to suggest that the Vritras of the Veda (for the Sruti speaks not of a single Vritra but of many) are not — at least in many hymns — forces either of cloud or of drought. strengthening and illuminating goddess. It would be easy to multiply passages of this kind.Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad 327 not by a blind tradition. The insight of Itihasa and Purana in these matters informed by old tradition seems to me often more correct than the conjectural scholarship of the Europeans. has a moral or intellectual significance. But there is an even more important truth than the high moral and spiritual significance of the Vedic gods and the Vedic religion which results to my mind from a more careful & unbiassed study of the Rigveda. we are in the presence not of personified natural phenomena. But every word in the passage. We shall find that the moral functions assigned to these gods are . Chodayitrˆ sunritanam Chetantˆ sumatˆnam. yajnam dadhe. There is a chance. an Aryan river. ı ˆ ı ı ˆ Yajnam dadhe Sarasvatˆ. ketuna. but Titans of quite another & higher order. Yajnam ı ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ vashtu dhiyavasuh. presents herself as a moral and intellectual ˆ ˆ ˆ ı ı agency. — “Pavaka nah Sarasvatˆ Vajebhir vajinˆvatˆ. wherever they can.” If we accept the plain meaning of the very plain & simple words italicised. Maho arnas Sarasvatˆ Prachetayati keı ı ˆ ˆ ˆ tuna. So far as I have been able to study & to penetrate the meaning of the Rigvedic hymns.

but I shall have in compensation this advantage that I shall proceed from the less disputed to the more . but in accordance with a careful. I shall confine my inquiry principally to the evidence of the Upanishads themselves and use them to shed their light on the Veda. accurate and simple statement of a considerable Yogic truth and most important Yogic experience. we have here an illuminating fact of the greatest importance to the Hindu religion. poetic or mythological basis. perhaps even a systematised introspective psychology and that at every step the details suggested agree with the experiences of the practical psychology which has gone in India from time immemorial by the name of Yoga. I am certain. Meanwhile the theory I have suggested of the relations of Veda to Vedanta receives. much in the Veda that European scholarship has left obscure and will provide our modern study of the development of Hindu Civilisation with a scientific basis and a principle of unbroken continuity. I shall myself in this book follow a different method. I shall have to appeal largely to Yogic experiences as yet accessible only to a few. If I am right. The amount & quality of truth I shall arrive at by this process may be inferior in fullness and restricted in quantity. authoritative to many and open to all. although I have considered it necessary to lay great stress on that relation. Although I believe the knowledge of Veda to be requisite for a full understanding of Vedanta. The line Maho Arnas Sarasvati prachetayati ketuna dhiyo visva virajati is to the Yogin a profound and at the same time lucid.328 Isha Upanishad: Part Two arranged not on a haphazard. I contend. from these Vedic indications a certain character of actuality. depends on a map of human psychology which is set forth in its grand lines in the Upanishads. instead of the written mantras. But I have to leave aside for the present these great & interesting but difficult questions. The psychological theory & principle involved. we may find the earliest hymns of the Veda linked in identity of psychological experience to the modern utterances of Vivekananda and Sri Ramakrishna. a fact which will light up. a theory unknown to Europe and obscured in later Hinduism. instead of using the light of the written Veda to illumine the Upanishads.

troubled only by internal & limited disputes. We must find our way back into that system. but the special functions of Surya and the particular powers of Agni. The goal Shankara and other thinkers had in view was the intellectual assurance of the Brahmavada. devote thought to the minor & preliminary “Vyuha rashmin samuha” as well as to the ultimate and capital So’ham asmi. We must know what were the precise origin and relations of this cosmology. from the nearer & better known to the obscurer & more remote. body and spirit. We perceive indications of equally elaborate ideas about the processes underlying physical existence. called upon by modern necessity to study the ideas of the Upanishads in their obscure details no less than in their clear & inspiring generalities. human action and the subtle connections of mind. all else they disregarded as mean or of little moment. a system of gods and of worlds. not only . facile of ascent to our ancestors. ours will be the knowledge of the Veda. We must recover in their fullness these ideas and recreate. could afford to take for granted. therefore. Mighty Jnanis and Bhaktas. By the necessity of the times my object must be different from that of the mighty ones who went before us. We shall then have mastered not only Vedantadarshana but Vedanta. in physical and psychological limb and member no less than in their heart of metaphysical truth.Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad 329 disputed. Obliged by the rationalistic assault to enquire into much which they. From those secure & noble heights. if possible. they sought in the Upanishads only those metaphysical truths which base upon reason and Vedic authority the search for the Highest. advancing. this ancient system of psychical mechanics & physics. We find also a cosmology. by Buddhism & Sankhya. neglect neither the heavenly fire of Nachicatus nor the bricks of his triple flame of sacrifice nor his necklace of many colours. by a path not so liberally set with thorns and strewn with impeding boulders. on what experiences subjective or objective they rested for their justification. in their doubtful implications no less than in their definite statements. we of the present generation are compelled to descend. we must seek to know not only the Brahman in Its Universality. We have behind the Upanishads a profound system of psychology.

possibly. — but still. the first. with jnanam. It is the initial tapasya necessary before we are fit to approach the Sruti.330 Isha Upanishad: Part Two the truth that Badarayana or Shankara arrived at but the revelation that Yajnavalkya & Ajatashatru saw. so far as we have to use purely intellectual means — and I have not concealed my opinion that intellectual means are not sufficient and one has to trust largely the intuitions of a quiet and purified mind and the experiences of an illuminated and expanding soul. any . In an inquiry of this kind. we may pour out a great illumination on the meaning of Veda itself. we shall recover perhaps the inspired thoughts of Vasishta and Viswamitra. The Interpretation of Vedanta. [3] Chapter V. by the larger & more perfect Nirukta which the future will move inevitably to discover. so far as we are to use purely intellectual means. with tapahshakti. & find ourselves strengthened & equipped for the swifter pursuit & mightier attainment of the One whom both Veda & Vedanta aspire to know & who is alone utterly worth possessing. of Madhuchchhandas. Any temperamental rebellion. By discovering the early Vedantic interpretation of Veda. We may even be compensated for our descent by a double reward. — to be confirmed. Vamadeva and Atri. of Ghora from whom perhaps Srikrishna heard the word of illumination. By recovering the realisations of Yajnavalkya & Ajatashatru. rejoice in the sense of being filled with a wider & more potent knowledge & energy. most important. most imperative must be a submissive acceptance of the text of the Sruti in its natural suggestion and in its simple and straightforward sense. And we may even find ourself enriched in spiritual no less than in psychological knowledge. To this submissiveness we ought to attach the greatest importance & to secure it think no labour or selfdiscipline wasted.

vital & energetic temperament. Our pitfalls are many. even when otherwise noble and brilliant. there cannot. idea of religion or dogma. for what I believe is true and the Scriptures are repositories of truth. Surely. to slur over anything that savours of quietism. For the Sruti carries with it. put it aside on whatever pretext. without passion. labour to reject or alter what has been seen. his nerves cannot endure. should not because it is contrary to our expectation or our desire. it says. Any contradiction of that thinker. ought to be entirely silent in this matter. any command enjoining action as a means towards perfection his heart. This is the interference of temperamental preference with the text of the Sruti. he must get rid of it. he is tempted to read into Sruti the praise of action. enamoured of a definite view of life & God. even though the contradiction seems to stand there plainly on the face of sacred writ. in the nature of things. detached. any intellectual violation of the text seems to me to vitiate the work of the interpreter and deprive it.Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad 331 emotional interference. its role is to be submissive and receptive. of some of its value. passivity. in its very words. na kinchid api chintayet. Whatever contradicts these notions. be anything in them inconsistent with what I believe. habitual opinions. not activity. the thought. the philosophy. intellectual & temperamental likes & dislikes. should be its state. teacher or view irritates his heart & cannot be borne. There is. preferences. strikes our fixed mental idea as necessarily wrong. It is for this reason that the mind. the intervention . Or else the mind has always been accustomed to a particular philosophy. finally. belittle it. So begins the interference which arises from association & fixed opinions. The mind ought to wait for that illumination and receiving it. a certain prakash. One man has an active. This is the interference of emotional preference. prejudices. A man is attached to a particular thinker or teacher. a certain illumination. prejudgments. that restless lake of sanskaras. any obstinacy of fixed mental association. the dogma to which I am accustomed must be the thought of the Scriptures. the mind at once obeying the heart sets about proving to itself that the words do not mean what they seem to mean. mode of thinking. Another is temperamentally quietistic.

I have myself suggested that the scope of dhanam in the first verse of the Isha exceeds the contracted idea of material wealth and embraces all sorts of possessions. but none of these suggestions in the least meddle with the grammatical connotation. but would still be seriously limiting. It will be seen however that in neither case do I depart from the basic meaning of the . the word vayunani meaning no doubt actions or activities.332 Isha Upanishad: Part Two of the intellect when a speculative philosopher with a theory or a scholar reaching out after novelty or conscious of an opening for scholastic ingenuities. that the received or dictionary sense of the word has to be always accepted. however brilliantly they may be managed. the etymological force or even the dictionary meaning of the words used. they diminish its universality and limit its appeal. I do not mean. It is for others to judge whether I have myself been able to avoid all of them. however. eno in the last verse still keeps to me its etymological association and is different from papa. meddles powerfully with the plain drift of the text. A more serious doubt may arise when I suggest special associations for drishtaye and satya in the [fifteenth] verse. — especially the intellectual interference to which my temperament is most open. are injuries to the truth of Veda. In dealing with these ancient writings such a scholastical puritanism would be less dangerous indeed than the licence of the philosophic commentators. the intention if not its successful performance. only a deeper or more delicate shade of meaning is made to appear than can ordinarily be perceived by a careless or superficial reader. one ought to abide within its clear grammatical connotation as in a hedge of defence against one’s own intellectual self-will and any superstructure of special sense or association must be consistent with that connotation and with the general usage of the Upanishads or of the Veda on which they rest. But in departing from the dictionary sense one must not depart from the native and etymological sense of the word. All these interferences. has been supposed by me to keep a colour of its proper etymological sense “phenomena” and to denote universal activities and not solely the individual or human. but I have had certainly the will to avoid it if not the power.

I have been continually obliged to see that the expressions they use are the inevitable expression for the thought that has to be conveyed. to the rhythm & structure and the logical connection with each other in thought of the separate clauses & shlokas. In accordance with this fullness of inspiration is the perfection of the chhandas. of the six verses about Vidya & Avidya may stand as . not vaguely reaching out at truth. and even when using poetical language the Rishis use it with a definite purpose. My experience forbids me to assent to this view. in itself very natural and superficially reasonable. the rhythm & structure of verse & sentence which corresponds felicitously with the rhythm & structure of the thought. but not to be too much insisted on. truth for satya. For the fixing of the actual sense of separate words in Sruti is not the only condition of the interpretation nor is the acceptance of their natural sense the only standard for the interpreter. indeed an immense value must be attached.Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad 333 words. supremely wedded to the thought. full of imagery & suggestion. in my opinion. A great value. I have been forced to believe in the plenary inspiration of the Upanishads in word as well as in thought. while the remarkable development & balance. No interpretation would impress me with a sense of satisfaction which did not give its clear & due weight to each word or account for the choice of one word over another where the choice is unusual. sight for drishti. but keeping before their vision a clear and firm thought or experience which they clearly & firmly express. The language of the Upanishads is largely regarded by the modern readers as sublime and poetical indeed. It will be seen also. I may instance for this importance of the rhythm & structure of sentence such a juxtaposition as jagatyam jagat in the first verse. as I proceed in my larger task. that I have good Vedic warrant for supposing these special senses to be applied sometimes & indeed often to sight and to Truth in the Sruti and that they agree with the whole drift & logical development of this & other Upanishads. not always to be pressed as having a definite meaning but often allowed to pass vaguely as rather reaching out at truths than accurately expressing them.

with its heavy obstruction & jar as of a carriage wheel jolting momentarily over a sudden obstacle.334 Isha Upanishad: Part Two an example of the importance of rhythm & structure of both sentence & verse. not entirely in the manner of the Vedic Rishis. is a striking instance of the perfect & pregnant use of language. Even an observation of formal metre as an element of the rhythm is of some importance to the Vedantic interpreter. The writers of the Upanishads handle their metres. their principle is to keep not only the two lines of the shloka but all its four parts separate and not to run them into each other by sandhi. The jagatyam jagat of the first verse already alluded to. sweet & harmonious than the . But the disregard of Vedic practice is ruinous to the rhythm and sweetness of the verse. whether Anushtup or Tristubh. This peculiarity disappears in the manuscript & printed copies where the post-Vedic sandhi is observed usually though not with absolute consistency. and always avoid it between the different padas. eg vidyancha avidyancha. but there are numerous other examples such as the powerful collocation of kavir manishi paribhuh swayambhur in one of the most noble & profound of the revelatory shlokas. But almost every step in the Isha will give us examples. Much depends on whether we take the hiranmaya patra of the [fifteenth] shloka as mere vague poetical rhetoric or an image used with a definite intention and a lucid idea. are used in this passage with great correctness and pregnancy and on a right understanding of them depends our right understanding of the whole system of philosophy developed in the Isha. They permit themselves to avoid elision even in the middle of a pada. It is easy for a careless translator or interpreter to accept kavir & manishi loosely as words with the same essential meaning used a little tautologically for a rhetorical effect. but very largely on Vedic principles. the [eighth]. for it disregards the first conditions of the Vedic appeal to the ear. In reality. What for instance can be more clumsy than the junction of the padas in the seventh shloka. yasmin sarvani bhutanyatmaivabhud vijanatah or what can be more rhythmical. they differ widely in sense.

we cannot speak with certainty. the logical stride from shloka to shloka. but although it would introduce a very beautiful and delicate poetical effect. resembling the use of the Alexandrine in English dramatic verse. The ordinary view of the Upanishads ignores another equally important. These minutiae are not merely interesting to the literary critic and the philologist. Their importance will appear when we find that Max Muller would almost tempt us. It is possible that we have an example of this use in vidyancha avidyancha. the profound relations of passage to passage. — the Vedic use of these semivowels optionally as actual vowels which turns a dissyllable frequently into a trisyllable — a freedom possible only in a living language appealing to an ear tuned to the flexibility of living & daily intonations. — although this is more doubtful. or that Shankara’s desperate dealings with the line. the optional quantity of the vowel before a conjunct consonant of which the second element is a liquid. for the sake of regularity of metre. yathatathyato’rthan vyadadhach chhaswatibhyah samabhyah. especially the semivowels y or v. kavir manishi paribhuh swayambhur. the occasional introduction of one or more excessive feet into a pada. from his point of view almost unmanageable. The usual treatment . and. the use of two short matras as the equivalent of one long syllable. vinashena mrityum tirtwa sambhutyamritam asnute his forcing of vinasha to mean sambhava and reading of tirtwa asambhutya are negatived by the metre & rhythm of the verse no less than by the rhythm & structure of the thought throughout these six crucial verses. the intimate subjective linking of clause with clause. which gives such profundity. to eject the important. if not more important characteristic. so many reverberations of meaning to the closing thought in the majestic [eighth] shloka.Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad 335 same verse properly written & read with an observation of the pause between the padas yasmin sarvani bhutani atmaivabhud vijanatah? There are other antique peculiarities. if not indispensable yathatathyato. the closeness of their logical structure.

his head far away in the altitudes of Adwaita. Vivekananda. potent seedsower of the future. Before I pass from this subject. the closing invocations to Surya & Agni are related to the whole thought-structure and how perfectly they develop from what precedes. how movement leads on to movement. lokan grasantam. annihilating it in the white flame of the Mayavada. Shankara towers like an unreachable giant above his fellows. As a philosopher. almost of apology. If I have done so. as a powerful logician & victorious disputant his greatness can hardly be measured. “But Shankara does not say that. at every step of our progress. Yet I have ventured throughout to differ from this king of commentators — almost even to ignore this great & invincible disputant. of self-defence. Among the intellectual interpreters of Sruti. Not Madhwa. haphazard & illogical structures. . not even Ramanuja can prevail against this colossal shadow.3 [ I have spoken so far of the intellectual tests that we can employ. for all the importance that is given to this element of their divine inspiration. for instance. “No. I shall try to show how mighty are the architectonics of thought in the Isha. his mouth like Trishira’s swallowing up the world. For a thousand years and more he has stood in the heavens of Indian thought. it may be well to insert a word of explanation. how intimately.” replied simply but finally.336 Isha Upanishad: Part Two of these works seems to go on the assumption that this high logical strenuousness does not exist. but I. say it. They might often be loose collections of ill connected speculations. if I mistake not. in answer to the objection of the Pundits. his feet firmly planted on the lifeless remnants of crushed systems and broken philosophies.” he pronounced the decree of liberation not only for himself but for 3 The paragraph that follows was cancelled in the manuscript by Sri Aurobindo. The importance of the logical relation in the interpretation will be manifest. the wreckage of his logical conquests. as a metaphysician. it is because I think the decree of our liberty has already been pronounced by another giant of thought.—Ed. When the great Vivekananda. his shadow covering our intellects & stunting the efforts of all who have dared to think originally & dispute his conclusions.

depends for its value on the possession of the right data. the just estimate of difference & contrast. however great & venerable. Pratyaksha is the process by which the things themselves about which we gather data are brought into our ken. the golden but heavy yoke. Textual Inference. The Instruments and Field of Vedanta. Anumana. of the mighty Dravidian. and finally on the power of right reasoning from the right data. The three principal means of intellectual knowledge are anumana.] [4] Part II.Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad 337 all of us from the yoke. the testimony of men who have themselves been in possession of the knowledge we seek. into some nebulous region where even . aptavakya is evidence. He was our deliverer not only from ignorance & weakness. In truth. Especially is this danger present to us when we are reasoning not from things but from words. if serious in its bearing or extent. an error of data or of reasoning from the data may. we are apt to lose ourselves in a brilliant cloud. but from the systems of knowledge that would limit us and impose a premature finality. to be lifted from the earth. our pratistha. vitiate all our conclusions even if all our other means are correct and correctly used. the unerring perception of true identity & rejection of false identity. when we are using the often artificial counters of traditional logic & metaphysics. For this was Vivekananda’s mission to smite away all obstacles. on the right observation of the data including the drawing of the right analogies. pratyaksha and aptavakya. an error committed by the apta. inference from data. Chapter I. & open the path to the resurgence of Indian originality & the direct confrontation of the soul of man with the living Truth. An error in pratyaksha.

show themselves to be as much subject to the errors of the intellect as ordinary mortals. The continued wrangles of philosophy. seems to be vitiated by this tendency to argue about words rather than about the realities which alone give any value to words.338 Isha Upanishad: Part Two if we win high victories we are not much advanced. The metaphysician is too apt to forget that he is dealing with the symbols of things and not with the things themselves. We seem hardly yet to possess the right & sufficient data for a proper understanding of the universe in which we find ourselves. he is apt to be more anxious that his conclusions should be logical than that they should be in experience true. On the other hand scientists as soon as they go beyond the safe limits of observation & classification of data. a quiet heart and a silent. . the habit & power of right reasoning from data. seem yet to be beyond the reach of our human weakness. he should but is not always careful to compare his intellectual results with the verities of experience. patient & purified understanding. though perfect in itself. since we get thereby nothing but an intellectual satisfaction and cannot apply our knowledge to life. How few of us have even the first elementary condition of truth-seeking. For the Vedantins were surely right in thinking that in order to be a discoverer & teacher of truth one must first be absolutely dhira. when the truth of them is outraged by the freaks of the mind. This is the great advantage of the scientist over the metaphysician that he is always near to facts & sensible things which. They too like the metaphysicians use words in a fixed sense established upon insufficient data and forge these premature fixatures into fetters upon thought and inquiry. dogmatisms of science and quarrels of religion are so many proofs that we are yet unripe for the highest processes of thought and inquiry. as soon as they begin to reason & generalise on the basis of their science. Much of the argumentation of the great Dravidian thinkers. those vague & flexible symbols of things which have been habituated to misuse ever since human thinking began. — live that is to say in a luminous calm of both heart & understanding. present a much more formidable & tangible protest than words. even if with insufficient materials right reasoning were possible.

the Veda or Brahmavidya. this is my sole object in undertaking the explanation of the Upanishads. what man. The essential relations of God & the world. man and the universe.Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad [5] Part II The Field and Instruments of Vedanta Chapter I 339 Historically. What the Vedanta is. It is the reaffirmation of Veda or Brahmavidya. of the nature and action of the great principles of our being. In fact. — would not to me be a sufficient motive for devoting much time & labour out of a life lived in these pregnant & fruitful times when each of us is given an opportunity of doing according to our powers a great work for humanity. A philological enquiry into the meaning of ancient Hindu documents. on which the last harmony of man’s being with his surroundings was effected. an antiquarian knowledge of the philosophising of ancient generations. I have already hinted. although in itself a worthy object of labour and a patriotic occupation. That Satyayuga can only be reconstituted by the efforts of the sadhus. It is the systematised affirmation. we have our Hindu theory of the Vedanta. matter. life. we shall come to some knowledge of what God is. If this idea be true. but by spiritual experience and supra-intellectual inspiration. this is my subject. perhaps. not by metaphysical speculation or inferential reasoning. the reaffirmation. mind. of that knowledge of God. spirit and whatever else this wonderful world of ours may hold. so far as they affect our existence here. I hold with my forefathers that this is an age of enormous disintegration & reconstitution from which we look forward to a new Satyayuga. — since those generations were our forefathers and the builders of our race. the seekers after human perfection. by maintaining in however small a degree that harmony of man’s being with his surrounding & containing universe which is the condition of our perfection. then by interpreting correctly the Vedanta. The knowledge . then. intrinsically.

future Man. Afterwards we may proceed to confirmation from other sources. are its relations to the actual thought and labour of humanity? What are these methods of inspiration and experience by which they arrive at the truths of which they are the repositories? And granting that they are inspired in word & thought. What is the nature of the truth that the Vedanta sets out to teach. But to effect this great deliverance. We must link our hands to the sages of the past in order that we may pass on the sacred Vedic fire. the logician does not use it. agnir idyah. — what. in the Sanscrit language. into that karanasamudra or causal ocean from which our beings emerge and bringing out from thence the lost Veda and the already existing future. within us is God & perfected humanity — two beatitudes that are the same and yet different. this perfection is within us and must ultimately be found and manifested by plunging into the depths of our own being. how are we to arrive at the right meaning of words written long ago. the logical philosopher. to push aside the golden shield of our various thought from the face of Truth. that is to say. This knowledge. Three questions at the very beginning confront us.340 Isha Upanishad: Part Two of the principles of that harmony is therefore man’s greatest need and should be the first preoccupation of his lovers and helpers. Within us is all Veda and all Vedanta. therefore. who must be our guides? Shall grammar and analysis from outside help us? But the scientist does not admit inspiration. to know what the Vedanta has to say on these profound problems. to rescue the concealed Purusha. to the Rishis of the future. . The best beginning for this great inquiry is. out of those waters in which he lies concealed and give him form by the intensity of our tapas. let no man think that it is a brief or an easy task in which we can dispense with the help that the wisdom of the past still offers us. by ancient thinkers with ideas that are not ours and a knowledge from which we have receded? Is it the method of the darshanik. that we must follow? Shall we arrive by logic at this knowledge of the Eternal? Or is [it] the scientist and scholar.

They put away from them the Veda. and if the Veda keeps. But the Vedanta is not useful only for the denial of life. even fragmentarily. the importance of the inner meaning of these books to the progress of humanity will be self-evident. for man’s individual and racial evolution that I hope to rescue from the obscuration of quietistic philosophies born of the pessimism of the iron age. not seeing how it can be applied to the conditions of phenomenal life. that we have in ourselves the eternal Veda. it also affirms the bliss of harmony between the world & God. may not this be the true secret of his evolution — attunes his surroundings to his fulfilled and triumphant self. but using it freely for infinite purposes & determining it.Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad [6] Part II The Field and Instruments of Vedanta Chapter I Intellect and Revelation 341 If in the progression of the ages there are always golden periods in which man recovers self-knowledge and attunes the truth of himself to the truth of his surroundings — or may it not even be. not being merely determined by his environment. I have said that I do not deny the truth of these . or so at least the Indian Yogin has always held. Many of the greatest. Available by God’s grace or our own effort there is always in each human being that hidden salvation. carry it away with them into the eternal Silence. the theoretical statement of that self-knowledge. the practical application and the Vedanta. they seek in the Vedanta or in their souls only so much knowledge as will help them to loosen the coils of thought & sense wound round them by the Almighty Magician. It is this supreme utility of Vedanta for life. If it affirms the evil of bondage to the idea of this world. harder to apply. But it is hard to arrive at. it is even more useful for the affirmation of life. Neither Shankara nor Schopenhauer have for us the entirety of its knowledge. It is perfectly true.

the one who knows. in a way even greater and more blissful. The Asad Brahman. but the fulfilment of Himself in it for which it was created — the conditions in which the kingdom of heaven on earth can be converted from a dream into a possibility.342 Isha Upanishad: Part Two philosophies. — by the willed evolution in man of his higher nature. if we regard them without the fear & shrinking of the ignorant existence-loving mind. Nirvana. He must know his soul and not only the open or secret machinery of his body. supra-intellectual nature. what God. and awakening by its contact the knowledge in his own soul. by a steady self-purification and a development in the light of this divine knowledge towards the fulfilment of his own supra-material. the nature & relation of matter. annihilation of the manifest soul in the unmanifest are all of them great truths and. — not the incompatibility of God with the world He has created in Himself. we enlightened moderns. they are not only great but also blissful truths. I should not think it worth while to write a word about it. but only from God’s revelation. if we can present the world with a theory intellectually interesting or logically flawless. mind. and at any rate much more helpful to mankind as a whole. much less to delve deep for its meaning. they are an eternal part of Vedanta and it is well that they should have been brought out though with exaggeration & the exclusion of other verities. For that purpose he must know God and not only the physical laws of Nature. If Vedanta had not this high utility. a side of Vedantic truth. But they are only a part. Whether they had their knowledge by thought . Nayam atma pravachanena labhyah. God & the World is my subject. If we can systematise our guesses about these things. we are satisfied. what man is. This knowledge he can only get from his own soul or from Vedanta explained to him by the Master. He cannot get it from Science or from speculative Philosophy. There are other sides. life in order to satisfy an intellectual craving. But the ancients wished to know these things because they thought they were of the greatest importance for man’s life and being. We wish to know. if it only brought a philosophical satisfaction or were good for logical disputation.

It is such a higher undivided principle from which Vedanta professes to derive its knowledge. The Vedanta is above all a rule of life. and it has been first the privilege of Teutonic thinkers to speculate in the void. They claim to have found a principle of knowledge as superior to reason as reason itself is to sensational perception and animal instinct — to have laid their grasp on workings and results which can satisfy the demands . whether by the inspiration of the heart & the satisfaction of the emotional being. for its ideas are sovereign. or by the working of the observation and the logical faculties as in ordinary Science or by intellectual revelation as Newton discovered gravitation or by spiritual intuition as in the methods of the great founders of religion or by a higher principle in us which sums up and yet transcends all these mighty channels of the Jnanam Brahma. but to have known & commanded the psychological sources of internal revelation and mastered to a certain extent its secret. its science and its workings. they also recognized & highly valued. it is at once a philosophy & a religion and it owes this sovereign force & double mastery not only to the substance of its message. For the ancient Hindus. their first preoccupation was to live according to their knowledge. towards the highest fulfilment of his being. potent. from the judgment or from the heart. as in ordinary religion. seem to have not only trusted the internal revelation in preference to the external. it is equally important to know what that light is and how we came by it. insistent to remould a man’s whole outlook upon existence. It has been left for enlightened Europe to profess a religion. which.Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad 343 or by religion. alone of earth’s nations. however. yet avowedly separate its precepts from practical life. — the Stoic & the Epicurean quite as much as the Christian or the Jew held his knowledge as a means towards life. using great words & high ideas as if these were ornaments of a bright lustre & great costliness but of no living utility. but to the instrumentality of that message. For although the determination to live by the best light we have is important. a law of being and a determination of relation and conduct. the sources from which it is drawn and the principles of knowledge & activity in our complex being to which it appeals.

though he is compelled by the limitations of mind to mistake & misuse it. We start here at the bottom rung. the obscuration in matter and ascend from the obscurer manifestation to the less obscure. genius is a beggar at the doors of that bounty. from the involution. from this the prophet & the Pythoness draw the exaltation of their inspiration or its frenzy. But all these are like men that dream and utter ill-understood fragments of their dream. there shoots down on him a more full & burning splendour of strength & knowledge. but in that higher principle he is asleep. tree & plant and all vegetable life a little higher. meet the test of observation & logic but act in a sense wider.344 Isha Upanishad: Part Two of the intellect but transcend intellectual ideation. All existence is a staircase by which we are climbing in God & through God Godwards. The spirit in the stone. Therefore the Gita says. in his reason & imagination. Yet secretly. half awake. unknown to the egoistic mind he takes from this slumber his waking thought & knowledge. But above man’s present position. chakshush cha shrotran cha. seems. subliminally. For man in his heart is awake. from an air in which light comes to us from above to emergence in the very light itself. “Yasyam . animal life dwelling in vitality but using from below the lower functions of mind and a reason which entirely depends on memory & observation & almost consists in memory & observation climbs yet higher. man dwelling in the lower mind but using matter & vitality from above and from below taking possession of reason and imagination. more direct & more penetrating than observation & logic. There there is another sun. a more nectarous lustre of joy & beauty. to be at the top. of all beings on earth. It is to him a state of sushupti. not yet buddha. To this the poet and the artist aspire in the intoxication of the vision and the hearing. For that slumber is the real waking and our waking is a state of dream and delusion in which we use a distorted truth & establish a world of false relations. other lightnings than ours. above the heart in which he dwells & the imagination & reason to which he rises there opens out a wider atmosphere of life. clod and metal is at the bottom of that ladder. another moon. and fulfil all the demands of the heart while preserving our freedom from the heart’s vagaries.

Religion makes this mistake when she attempts to destroy the body & the vitality in order to satisfy the aspirations of the heart. when she stifles the heart . is night to the eye of the awakened seer. yet from the evolutionary point of view an anomaly is often the one right and indispensable process. It must answer their doubts & questions. vijnanam. he who has mastered his own being is awake.” In that which is night to all creatures. to give an account of itself to the lower & more fallible. he had to be fulfilled in body & vitality before he could develop freely in mind. — just as. For if we act otherwise. to Philosophy & to Religion. self-slayers. the source of truth by the propagators of half-truth and error. it has although the higher & truer. if we deny for instance the claims of the reason in order to serve revelation only & exclusively — though we ought to serve her first and chiefly — we are in danger of defeating man’s evolution. in self-mortification. that in which these creatures are awake. the movement of this higher principle is the source of all internal revelation. Otherwise. — the mahan atma. The Vedantists call this principle by the name. it is the sruti which in its expression the Veda is. For although from the ideal point of view it is an anomaly that the higher should be crossquestioned by the lower. philosophy. it must satisfy all their right and permissible demands. which consists in self-fulfilment and not.Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad 345 jagrati bhutani sa nisha pashyato muneh. and incurring that condemnation to the sunless & gloomy states beyond of which the Isha Upanishad speaks. For mankind although evolving towards vijnana yet dwells in the mind. atmaha. it is the smriti of the Rishi which gives to the intelligent part. He has to be fulfilled in mind before he can rise taking up mind with him into the vijnanamaya self. It is from vijnanam that Veda descends to us. an entire & pervading principle of knowledge which puts everything in its true light & its right relations. It is the drishti of which the Veda is the result. in his animal state. the manishi in him a perfect account of the vision & inspired hearing of the seer in him. the Kavi. except as a temporary means to an end. Thus it comes about that even when Veda manifests in the mental world. to Science. we are in danger of becoming by a one-sided exaggeration self-injurers.

but to rise from one principle to the other. Mayavada commits this error when not content with trampling the tyranny of cosmic Illusion underfoot. vitality. not to sanction internal civil war and perpetrate spiritual suicide. fulfilling the lower first in itself and then in the higher. binding herself to a barren Agnosticism. divine & universal. Therefore all attempts to deny and slaughter the reason are reprehensible and should be strongly opposed & discouraged. urging mankind towards the gran rifiuto. to become through them yet beyond them infinite. — evam twayi nanyatheto’sti. For thus are we made and we can be no other. For God has expressed us in many principles & not one. but we can maim ourselves in the world by the attempt to destroy them. the great refusal & renunciation of its past and its future. We have to dissociate our sense of being from body & vitality and become mind. fullness is the true law of our progression.” Purnata. The revolt of Rationalism against the tyranny of the creeds & the Churches is justified by God’s law and truth. it seeks to deny and destroy the world in order to attain That which has chosen to express itself through the world. mind. And not only the . He has ranged them one over the other & commanded us not to destroy one in order to satisfy another. “Thus is it in thee and it is not otherwise. to dissociate it from Sachchidanandam and become That which is in the world Sachchidanandam.” denying herself the fullness of the great secular effort of humanity summed up in the gnothi seauton of the sages. without being limited by their conditions. to dissociate it from mind and become vijnanam.346 Isha Upanishad: Part Two in order to enthrone the pure intellect. not in order to destroy body. knowledge. to dissociate it from vijnanam and become divine bliss. Sachchidanandam manifest in phenomenal existence. Science when she denies the power of vision of the heart and the pure intellect in order to strengthen & serve solely the analytical reason — denying herself thus the benefit of the great benediction “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Destroy them we cannot without blotting out ourselves and entering into the Sunyam Brahma. taking it up with us as we go. manifested bliss & being but to transcend and satisfy them more mightily. awareness & being.

because they perceived the danger of giving too unlicensed a freedom to these great but inferior powers. therefore. It has been well said that to deny Veda by hetuvada. A harmony is needed in which the higher shall illumine the lower. — a word which has now acquired only the significance of an abusive epithet but meant originally and etymologically a materialist. Prano vai Brahma. Science. narrow. but full of the vital impulses.Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad 347 Churches & creeds. Philosophy acknowledging Veda in theory but relying instead on her own intellectual self-sufficiency. arrogant & bigoted in her own conceit. On the other hand. is. not purified. “Thou. — the beast so long & with such difficulty subdued & disciplined by Philosophy. allowing Philosophy. a thing of vain disputations & exultant logicsplitting. abstract. follows the impulses of the undisciplined heart. one who denies his higher self in order to enthrone & worship the brute matter in which he is cased. O brute body & nerve system. ignorant. One day. the lower recognise & rise to the higher. putting Veda away into a sacred oblivion. violent. art Brahman. its stumbling imperfections make impossible to it. chittam pranair otam.” Annam vai Brahma. . she keeps telling him. ends by living in words. obscurantist. Science & Religion only as subordinate helps to knowledge. while she yet reigns. but Veda must bend down from its altitudes & justify itself before reason even as God descends from his heavens of infinity to humour our weakness & limitations and take us into His embrace. divine revelation by intellectual rationality. The ancient Hindus. insisted on Veda as the supreme authority. in the end. to deny Veda in order to give reason a supremacy which its natural limitations. her appliances. he is sure to rise. and becomes spasmodic. — and demand that she shall be his servant with her knowledge. makes man a materialist. is to go against Nature and restrict our evolution. denying Veda altogether. her sophistries. Religion. a pashanda. to become a pashanda. unpractical and visionary. — the egoistic heartless lust of power & pleasure in man. Religion & Veda. sectarian. cruel. her organisation. For all her analytical knowledge she knows not that that in man which believes only in matter is the beast in him. until his whole nature begins to believe it.

but by completing the knowledge and putting it in its right relations. Already the shadow of this terrible revival is cast upon the world. Philosophy & Religion in their own terms of that which we mean by Veda & Vedanta and our reasons for attaching a supreme importance to the conclusions we reach by them. Annam vai Brahma. the Pashu in man & God as the Master of the Animal. Philosophy & Religion and how he determines their relation to the standards used by Vedanta. lifts the Pashu to the Pashupati and enables him to satisfy himself divinely by enjoying even in matter the supramaterial and replacing egoistic and selfish power by an universal mastery & helpfulness and egoistic & unsatisfying pleasures by a bliss in which he can become one with his fellows. is now growing actual and imminent. that we may offer of Veda and Vedanta we must give an account to Science. what he holds to be the value of the criteria relied on respectively by Science. In any explanation. the Pashupati. erecting barrier upon artificial barrier as their own knowledge & grasp upon Veda diminished. All else she puts by as misleading and unreliable. it completes him also & liberates him. correct and illuminate it. or to use our Indian terms physical pratyaksha & anumana from physical pratyaksha. The way to avoid it is not to deny the truth of Science. Aptavakya is in this system only . lusts & cruel impulses and arm them with engines of irresistible potency. What the Hindus foresaw and dreaded and strove to organise their society against it. it acknowledges the animal. In order that this satisfaction may be given the Vedantist must make it clear what he means by knowledge. neither the statements of well-equipped & credible witnesses nor argument from the perception of like circumstances as between the various objects or movements observed. therefore. already Science is bowing her head to this tremendous demand. Prano vai Brahma. she admits observation by the physical senses aided by physical instruments and she admits inference from this observation. a bliss divine & universal. Science takes her stand upon two means of knowledge only. but to complete.348 Isha Upanishad: Part Two shall justify to him his selfishness. For the Veda also says with Science. She admits neither aptavakya nor analogy.

— nothing more. its circumstance & its entirety. If we take things physical with which alone the modern scientific method is really at home. for if only the eye dwells on it. either. I proceed to separate it clearly in my observation from all surrounding object or circumstance foreign to it even if contiguous or attached — by separation in observation. This process I may be allowed to call simply bodha or taking into the observation. I take it completely into my mind by a perfect observation of it in its parts. At bottom all human thinking is some sort of perception. the mind is likely to retain nothing in memory or only a vague impression of what has been seen. a secondhand pratyaksha. But the Vedantist in common with all Indian thinkers admits in intellectual reasoning aptavakya and analogy as well as pratyaksha and anumana. as we say. physical perception or mental perception. by prithagbodha. Finally. can I be said to have properly or scientifically observed the object. but the mind into concentrated contact with the object. by samyagbodha. by totality in observation. Logic itself is only the science of placing our perceptions in their proper order. Only if I have accomplished these three movements of perception perfectly. either perception by the mind of something that seems to be outside itself or of something that seems to be within itself. We have first to bring it under observation by the mind through some sense-organ usually or predominantly the eye. only then can I be sure of its dwelling in my memory or of my power to reproduce it accurately before my imagination. analogy is only a doubtful and often a false inference.Chapters for a Work on the Isha Upanishad 349 an uncertain makeshift. . Once I have the object in my mind’s grasp. it must be clear to us that the whole basis of knowledge is the right perception of objects. — we have to bring not only the eye.


the Lord enters to inhabit”. only One who moves. Before form can be. it is sound. Forces and objects are the forms of Kali. Thou lookest upon a stone and sayest. “It is still. Thus envisage thy being. it is vibration of being.The Upanishad in Aphorism THE ISHA UPANISHAD For the Lord all this is a habitation whatsoever is moving thing in her that moves. but to the sense-experience only. To the eye that sees. The half-enlightened say “Whatever form is built. becomes Idea and seeks a form and a habitation. Why dost thou say there is a world? There is no world. but the Seer knows that whatever the Lord sees in His own being. many currents and each current thy mind sees as force and tendency. In thy all-embracing stillness of vision thou art Purusha and inhabitest. the child of infinity & the father of mental idea. in thy outward motion and action thou art Prakriti and the builder of the habitation. To each form of her we give a name. What thou callest world is the movement of Kali. There are many knots of the movement and each knot thy eyes look upon as an object.” So it is. In the ordered . The universe is a rhythmic vibration in infinite existence which multiplies itself into many harmonies and holds them well ordered in the original type of motion. What is this name? It is word. as such embrace thy world-existence. it is built out of motion and composed of motion. name & idea must have existed.

the stability dissolves & becomes unstable. The fact of universe endures for ever. exists still and can again recur. The soul is not constituted by mind and its activities. but every universe passes. theirs is an eternity of recurrence.352 Isha Upanishad: Part Two repetition of the atomic movements that compose it. Nevertheless all world and everything in world is eternal in its essential being. The soul in the body is master of body and not subject to its laws or limited by its experiences. Whatsoever system in Nature or of Nature is thoroughly worked out. every form or idea that is to be. must give place to a new harmony. No single rhythm can be eternally stable. not a condition of existence. All stability is a fixed equilibrium of rhythm. for all essential existence is Brahman without end or beginning. but. and everything in it is mutable & transient. Disturb the rhythm. for these also are parts of Nature and movements only. Soul determines Form & Action & is not determined by them. not of unbroken persistence. That which inhabits the forms of Kali is Self and Lord of the Movement. consists its appearance of stillness. Every form & every idea that has once been. but no particular world of things can last. Purusha is master of Prakriti. then it is dissolved and changed into a constituent of some other harmony. but only those activities which it has itself compelled Nature to initiate. Each thing in Nature endures till the purpose of Kali in it is fulfilled. not her subject. already exists and was from the beginning. Prakriti is eternal. Mind and body are instruments of the secret all-knowing and omnipotent Self within us. Spirit reflects in its knowledge the activity of Nature. for each universe is only one rhythm out of an infinite number of possible movements. in world. Forms and names are also Brahman and eternal. Time is a convention of movement. The soul in the body is not limited in space by the body or . therefore the universe is an ocean always in flow.

becomes in form of consciousness. Although there are to world-experience multitudinous souls (Purushas) in the universe. Every thing in Nature is a becoming of the one Spirit who alone is Being. but by exceeding body & mind I can become one with all things in being & in experience. the whole universe is its habitation. but vibration of the soul’s self-consciousness. There is only one Self of things. We and all things in Nature are God’s becomings. He uses laws. The motion of Nature is not real or material motion. on the summits. My universal soul need no more be limited by my individual mind and body. but motion of Nature takes place in its perfect stillness. they merely mark off compartments in our universal consciousness. laws do not use Him. The walls which imprison us have been built up by Prakriti in her movement and exist only in her inferior kingdoms. nor motion. even with the stone & the tree. . than my individual consciousness is limited by the experiences of a single cell in my body. He is not unityconsciousness nor multiple consciousness. God transcends world and is not bound to any particular state of consciousness in the world. the modalities of Nature’s movement create their separation and outward differences. but simultaneously includes all these self-expressions of His absolute being. The soul does not move. God transcends world and is not bound by any law of Nature. By body & mind I am separated even from my brother or my lover. every group of souls is collectively God. Each soul in itself is God entirely. all these are only one Purusha masked in many forms of His consciousness. Nature is Chit-Shakti.The Upanishad in Aphorism 353 in experience by the mind. sarvabhutani. not stillness. the Lord’s expressive power of selfawareness. not Personality nor Impersonality. by which whatever He sees in Himself. As one rises higher they become conventional boundaries which we can always stride across and. one soul in multitudinous forms.

that exists. of pure idea. expressed or half-apparent in itself its six sisters or companions. of pure delight. of pure being. contains it and informs it. but the symbol of a divine Existence. but its Image. becomes a world. Purusha. Since the soul in the body is eternally & inalienably free. The Soul. all world is merely arranged and harmonised outlook of the Spirit.354 Isha Upanishad: Part Two God simultaneously transcends world. its bondage to egoism. according to its situation. of pure vitality. Bhuh. Vijnanam. Chit or Tapas. can only be an apparent & not a real bondage. Prana and Annam. Our chains are either a play or an illusion or both play & illusion. The movement of Nature is a sevenfold flow. each stream subject to its own law of motion but containing latent. Tapas. God-consciousness is not exclusive of world-consciousness. contain and inform its universe. Pure Idea. the soul in the body can arrive at the God-consciousness and at once transcend. Manas. Ananda. law of life and death. — Sat. There are seven worlds. what He sees with order & harmony. The secret of our apparent bondage is the Spirit’s play by which It consents to forget God-consciousness in the absorption of Nature’s movement. of pure matter. Mind. law of bodily nature. Mahas. can seat itself in any of these principles and. The soul in Sat is pure truth of being and perceives itself as one in the world’s multiplicity. Nature is not an outcast from Spirit. law of mental nature. law of pleasure and pain. God is the reverse side of Nature. Life and Matter. Satya. Nature the obverse side of God. Will or Force. What God sees. its outlook changes and it sees a different world. of pure will or force. Swar. Bhuvah. Nature is composed of Being. The soul in Tapas is pure force of divine will & knowledge and possesses universe omnisciently and omnipotently as its extended self. world is not a falsity contradicting Brahman. Creative Bliss. Jana. of pure mentality. .

who has entered into a vitalised material body and is seeking to make it capable of infinite mentality & infinite ideality so that it may become the perfect instrument. the descent towards matter or mere form and urdhwagati. the ascent towards Spirit and God. all things in their unity & each thing in its right place. Matter is the lowest rung of the ladder and the soul that has descended into Matter tends by its secret nature & inevitable self-impulsion to reemerge out of form towards the freedom of pure universal being. Our bodies are naturally inert physical bodies moved by life & mind. Mind in the material world is attentive to two kinds of knowledge. impacts from outside. seat and temple of the manifest Sacchidananda. but not all of them are . perceives itself in order and arrangement of comprehensive unity in multiplicity. These are the two movements that govern world-existence. They also receive all impacts. manu or manomaya purusha. ideal or mental similarly translated. It is not subject to the tyranny of impressions. Inert physical bodies receive all the impacts that the mind receives. Man is a mental being.The Upanishad in Aphorism 355 The soul in Ananda is pure delight and multiplies itself in universal self-creation and unmixed joy of being. The soul in Prana is pure vitality & pours itself out in various life-energy. spiritual. time and circumstance. The soul in Annam is pure matter & forgets force of consciousness in the form of consciousness. The soul in Mahas is pure idea. It is Manas that measures. received into the individual mentality and translated into mental values and knowledge from within. corporeal or mental. The soul in Manas is pure mentality & receives the pure impression of separate objects & from their sum receives the impression of the whole. limits & divides. but being devoid of organised mentality. adhogati. but contains & comprehends the objects it knows. retain them only in the involved mind in matter and are incapable of translating them into mental symbols.

356 Isha Upanishad: Part Two translated into mental values. etc or in loss of the world self in Parabrahman or in . That which goes on in our life-energy & bodies below the level of waking mind is our subconscious self in the world. the Jiva notices & remembers all experience. some perfectly. Man progresses in proportion as he widens his consciousness & renders ever wider & finer experiences available for the perception & delight of the waking consciousness & in proportion as he can ascend to higher reaches of mind & beyond mind to ideality & spirit. this life & other lives. This transcendence & dissolution may result either in loss of the waking self & relapse into some sleepbound principle. Sunyam Brahma (Nihil). more or less obscure. All the knowledge translated here into mental values forms the stuff of our waking consciousness. but afterwards ideal and spiritual of the high vijnana & highest Sacchidananda. The waking ego fails to notice many things & forgets what it notices. some only after a longer or shorter incubation in the involved mind in matter. some immediately. Of those which are translated. this world & other worlds which is not available to the waking ego. sushupta Purusha. undifferentiated Prakriti. This waking consciousness accepted by the manomaya purusha as itself & organised round a central I-sense is the waking ego. There are the same variable phenomena with the internal knowledge. present and future. it has a wide range of knowledge & experience of the past. at first mental of the universal manomaya Purusha. the near & the distant. The transcendence & dissolution of the waking mental ego in the body is therefore the first object of all practical Vedanta. The Jiva or embodied mental being is in its consciousness much wider than the waking ego. The waking ego often receives intimations. some are rendered imperfectly. that which goes on in our mind & higher principles above the level of our waking mind is our superconscious self. The swiftest & most effective means of his advance & selffulfilment is to dissolve his waking ego in the enjoyment of an infinite consciousness. from either source which it fails to trace to their origin.

ananda. anish and not Ish. those who seek to destroy it mumukshu Jivas. suffering and ignorance. self-liberating souls. Amritam. souls free from illusion & limitation. eternally lord & free. the kingdom of heaven. To liberate man from death. Atman & Brahman. The waking ego. is called therefore aparardha. souls in bondage. the higher kingdom. Body is an object of motion in the stream of material . falsely believes the soul to be the subject of Nature & not its lord. In reality. no soul is bound & therefore none seeking liberation or liberated from bondage. This liberation is to be effected by dissolving the waking ego into the Lord’s divine being and experiencing entirely our unity with all other existences & with Him who is God.The Upanishad in Aphorism 357 universalisation of the waking self & the joy of God’s divine being in & beyond the world. All individual existences are jagat in jagati. — those who have destroyed it are mukta Jivas. object of motion in stream of motion & obey the laws & processes of that motion. suffering & ignorance and impose the all-blissful & luminous nature of the higher kingdom upon the lower is the object of the Seer in the Isha Upanishad. identifying the Jiva with its bodily. suffering & ignorance are circumstances of the mind in the vitalised body and do not touch the consciousness of the soul in vijnana. these are all conditions of the waking mind and not of the self or spirit which is Ish. life & body. The essence of bondage is limitation & the chief circumstances of limitation are death. the lower kingdom or in Christian parlance the kingdom of death & sin. chit & sat. Death. The last is the goal proposed for man by the Isha Upanishad. vital & mental experiences which are part of the stream of Nature’s movement & subject to Nature & the process of the movement. mind. This is the illusion of bondage which the manomaya Purusha either accepts or seeks to destroy. The combination of the three lower members. Those who accept it are called baddha Jivas. the four higher members are called parardha. or in Christian parlance.

All matter here is filled with life-energy of a greater or less intensity of action. — but only to expulsion from the form which it occupies and therefore to the physical experience of death of its body. Mind entering into the vitalised body tends still farther to hasten the period of dissolution by the higher demands of its vibrations upon the body. Therefore the plant dissolves while the stone & metal endure in their own equilibrium. The organisation of individual animated life tends to hasten the period of dissolution by introducing shocks of an intensity of force alien to matter which wastes the material form by its activity. it is therefore unable to impart its own full & uninterrupted energy to its form. it is not itself subject to death. We mean by death not dissolution of life or of mind. Mind is a knot of motion in the stream of mental consciousness. but only to expulsion from the vitalised body it has occupied. Life entering into body is dominated partly by the laws of body. But because the mental ego identifies itself with the body and understands by its life only this residence in its present perishable gross corporeal body. — death not being a law of life-energy. Life is not itself subject to death. of which the principal law is birth & death. This evolution of life is caused & supported by the pressure of the gods of the Bhuvar or life-world upon Bhu. therefore it has the mental experience of a bodily death. The experience of death is therefore combined of the apparently mortal mind’s ignorance of its own true immortal nature and of the limitation of energy in the body by which the form we inhabit wears out under the shocks of vibrating life-energy & vibrating mentality. All bodies are subject therefore to formation and dissolution. but dissolution of the form or body. then of the animal. Like life. Life is a current of motion in the stream of vital consciousness composed of eternal life-energy. . Consequently there is no physical immortality. but the organisation of life in individual animation begins later in the process of the material world by the appearance first of the plant.358 Isha Upanishad: Part Two consciousness.

.The Upanishad in Aphorism 359 The dissolution of body is not true death for the mental being called man. Matter of body changes its constituents and groupings. mental being persists both in essence and personality and passes into other forms & environments. it is only a change of media & of the surroundings of consciousness.


The Life Divine
A Commentary on the Isha Upanishad [Draft A]
Foreword Veda & Vedanta are the inexhaustible fountains of Indian spirituality. With knowledge or without knowledge, every creed in India, sect, school of philosophy, outburst of religious life, great or petty, brilliant or obscure, draws its springs of life from these ancient and ever flowing waters. Conscious or unwitting each Indian religionist stirs to a vibration that reaches him from those far off ages. Darshana and Tantra and Purana, Shaivism & Vaishnavism, orthodoxy & heresy are merely so many imperfect understandings of Vedic truth & misunderstandings of each other; they are eager half-illuminated attempts to bring some ray of that great calm & perfect light into our lives & make of the stray beam an illumination on our path or a finger laid on the secret & distant goal of our seeking. Our greatest modern minds are mere tributaries of the old Rishis. Shankara, who seems to us a giant, had but a fragment of their knowledge. Buddha wandered away on a bypath in their universal kingdom. These compositions of an unknown antiquity are as the many breasts of the eternal Mother of Knowledge from which our succeeding ages have been fed & the imperishable life in us fostered. The Vedas hold more of that knowledge than the Vedanta, hold it more amply, practically and in detail; but they come to us in a language we have ceased to understand, a vocabulary which often, by the change of meaning to ancient terms, misleads most where it seems most easy & familiar, a scheme of symbols of which the key has been taken from us. Indians do not understand the Vedas at all; Europeans have systematised


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a gross misunderstanding of them. The old knowledge in the Vedas is to us, therefore, as a river wandering in dark caverns inaccessible to the common tread. It is in the Upanishads that the stream first emerges into open country. It is there that it is most accessible to us. But even this stream flows through obscure forest & difficult mountain reaches and we only have it for our use at favourable points where the forest thins or the mountain opens. It is there that men have built their little artificial cities of metaphysical thought and spiritual practice, in each of which the inhabitants pretend to control the whole river. They call their dwelling places Vedanta or Sankhya, Adwaita or Dwaita, Shaivism or Vaishnavism, with a hundred names beside and boast that theirs is the way & theirs is the knowledge. But, in reality, each of us can only command a little of the truth of the Sanatana Dharma, because none of us understands more than a little of the Upanishads. They become, indeed, easier to us as they come nearer to us in date & the modernity of their language — the stream more accessible as it draws farther away from the original sources and descends more into the plain and the lowlands. But even the secret of these more modern revelations is not wholly ours and we delude ourselves if we think we have understood them entirely & need not plunge deeper for their meaning. There is much gold in the sands of the bed which no man has thought of disinterring. The Isha Upanishad is simpler in form & expression than such writings as the Chhandogya & Brihad Aranyaka which contain in their symbolic expressions, — to us obscure & meaningless, disparaged by many as violently bizarre in idea & language & absurd in substance, — more of the detail of old Vedic knowledge. The diction of the Upanishad is, for the most part, plain & easy; the ideas expressed by it, when they are not wrested from their proper sense, seem to be profound, yet lucid and straightforward. Yet even in the Isha the real import of the closing passage is a sealed book to the commentators, and I am convinced that the failure to understand this culminating strain in the noble progressive harmony of the thoughts has

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resulted for us in a failure to grasp the real & complete sense of the whole Upanishad. We understand, more or less clearly, the separate sense of the different slokas, but their true connection & relation of the thoughts to each other has been almost entirely missed. We have hold of some of its isolated truths; we have lost the totality of its purport. For the Isha Upanishad is one of the most perfectly worked out, one of the most finely and compactly stated inspired arguments the world possesses — an argument not in the sense of a train of disputatious reasoning, logical not in the fashion of an intellectual passage from syllogism to syllogism, but a statement of inspired thought each part of which has been perfectly seen by the revelatory faculty & perfectly stated by inspired expression in itself, in relation to the others & to its place in the whole. Not only every sloka, but every word in each sloka has been perfectly chosen & perfectly placed. There is a consummate harmony in the rhythm of the thought as well as in the rhythm of the language & the verse. The result is a whole system of knowledge & spiritual experience stated with the utmost pregnant brevity, with an epic massiveness & dignity, but yet in itself full and free from omission. We have in this Upanishad no string of incoherent thoughts thrown out at random, no loose transitions from one class of ideas to another, but a single subject greatly treated, with completeness, with precision, with the inspiration of a poet possessed by divine truth & the skill of a consummate architect of thought & language. The Isha Upanishad is the gospel of a divine life in the world and a statement of the conditions under which it is possible and the spirit of its living. It is this harmonious totality of meaning which it is the sole object of my commentary to bring to light. It has not been my object to support a particular philosophy or to read Adwaita or Dwaita or Visishtadwaita into its separate verses, and make it useful for metaphysical polemics. I hold firmly the belief that the truths of the Upanishads were not arrived at by intellectual speculation, cannot be interpreted by disputation according to the rules of logic and are misused when they are employed merely as mines & quarries for the building of metaphysical systems. I


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hold them to have been arrived at by revelation & spiritual experience, to be records of things seen, heard & felt, drishta, sruta, upalabdha, in the soul and to stand for their truth not on logic which they transcend but on vision to which they aspire. Those supra-intellectual faculties by which they received the Veda & developed its implications, drishti, sruti & smriti, are also the only means by which their thoughts can be perfectly understood. What is it that the Upanishad reveals — this is the question I have set myself to answer; I am indifferent for what set of warring philosophical dogmas its texts can be made an armoury. Nevertheless in the course of exegesis I have been compelled to come into conflict with the opinions of the Mayavada. The collision was inevitable rather than desired, for the Mayavada was the opinion with which I commenced my study of Vedanta. It is a system which still attracts the abstract intellectuality in me and represents to me what I may call an intervening & mediary truth of realisation which can never lose its validity. But when it seeks to govern human thought & life, to perpetuate itself as the sole truth of Vedanta, I feel that it is in conflict with the old Vedanta, stultifies the Upanishad & endangers or sterilises all our highest human activities without giving us the highest spiritual truth in its place. Even so I would have preferred to leave aside all negative criticism of it in these commentaries. But that is not possible. For it has so possessed India’s ideas about the Upanishads that it has to be cleared away in order that the true sense of this Upanishad at least may shine out from the obscuration. For the Isha at least does not support the Mayavada as is indeed evident from the struggle & sense of difficulty in Shankara’s own commentary which reduces its fine thought & admirable expression to incoherence & slipshod clumsiness. The error, however lofty, must be removed in order that the plain & simple Truth may reveal itself. In following the end I have had in view there are a few plain and binding rules by which I have endeavoured always to be guided. My method does not allow me to deal with the language of the Upanishads in the spirit of the scholar, — not the pride of the Pandit dealing with words as he chooses, but the humility of

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the seeker after truth in the presence of one of its masters is, I have thought, the proper attitude of the exegete. In the presence of these sacred writings, so unfathomably profound, so infinitely vast in their sense, so subtly perfect in their language, we must be obedient to the text and not presume to subject it ignorantly to our notions. To follow the plain & simple meaning of the words has been therefore the first rule of my exegesis. Vidya & Avidya are plain words, with a well-ascertained sense; I cannot turn aside from it to interpret them as knowledge of the gods & ignorance. Sambhuti, asambhuti, vinasha are words with fixed meanings; my interpretation must arise directly & simply from those meanings. The rhythm and metre of the Upanishads, the balance of the sentences demand their place in the interpretation; for chhandas is of primary importance in all Veda, — I must not disturb that rhythm, metre & balance in order to get over a philosophical difficulty. The anustup of the Isha, for instance, is Vedic in its form & principle & not classical; it demands, that is to say, a stanza of two couplets and admits of sandhi in the middle of the pada but not between two padas: I must not take advantage of a possibility of sandhi between two padas possible only in the classical anustup in order to extract from the Upanishad the opposite of its apparent sense. And when the meaning of a verse is determined, when it stands without qualification as an integral part of the teaching, I am not at liberty to read in a gloss of my own “for the ignorant” in order to depreciate or annul the validity of the doctrine. I am bound by the thoughts of the Sage; I cannot force upon him any ideas of my own to govern & override his apparent meaning — all that I am allowed to do, is to explain his evident textual meaning in the light of my inward spiritual experience but I must not use that experience which may be imperfect to contradict the text. Shankara has permitted himself all these departures from the attitude of subjection to the text. He has dealt with the Upanishad, and with this Upanishad more than any other, as a master of the Sruti & not its servant. He has sought to include it among his grandiose intellectual conquests. But the Sruti cannot be mastered by the intellect, and although the great Dravidian


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has enslaved men’s thoughts about the Sruti to his victorious intellectual polemic, the Sruti itself still preserves its inalienable freedom, rising into its secret heights of knowledge & being superior to the clouds & lightnings of the intellect, awaiting & admitting only the tread of the spirit, opening itself only to experience in the soul & vision in the supra-intellectual faculty of ideal knowledge. I trust I shall not be considered as wanting in reverence for the greatest of Indian philosophers, — in my opinion, the greatest of all philosophers. Nevertheless the greatest have their limitations. In profundity, subtlety & loftiness Shankara has no equal; he is not so supreme in breadth & flexibility of understanding. His was a spirit visited with some marvellous intuitions & realisations, but it would be to limit the capacities of the human soul to suppose that his intuitions exclude others equally great or that his realisations are the only or final word of spiritual knowledge. Shankara of the Commentaries on the Upanishad, — although the greatest commentaries on them that we have, — is not so great as Shankara of the Bhashya on the Vedanta Sutras. In the latter he is developing in full freedom his own philosophy, which even those who disagree with it must recognise as one of humanity’s most marvellous intellectual achievements; in the former he is attempting to conquer for his own system the entire & exclusive authority of the Sruti. A commentary on the Upanishads should be a work of exegesis; Shankara’s is a work of metaphysical philosophy. He does not really approach the Sruti as an exegete; his intention is not to use the philosophical mind in order to arrive at the right explanation of the old Vedanta, but to use explanation of the Vedanta in order to support the right system of philosophy. His main authority is therefore his own preconceived view of Vedantic truth, — a standard external to the text & in so far illegitimate. Accordingly he leaves much of the text unexplained, because it does not either support or conflict with the conclusions which he is interested in establishing; he gives merely a verbal paraphrase or a conventional scholastic rendering. Where he is interested, he compels the Sruti to agree with him. Without going quite to the same extent of self-will

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as the Dwaita Commentator who does not hesitate to turn the famous Tat twam asi into Atat twam asi, “Thou art not that, O Swetaketu,” he goes far enough & uses a fatal masterfulness. The Isha especially, it seems to me, is vitiated by the defects of his method, because in the Isha the clear & apparent meaning of the text conflicts most decisively with some of his favourite tenets. The great passage on Vidya & Avidya, Sambhuti & Asambhuti bristles for him with stumbling blocks. We find him walking amid these difficulties with the powerful but uneasy steps of Milton’s angels striding over the burning marl of their prison house. I for my part am unwilling to keep to the trace of his footsteps. For, after all, no human intellect can be permitted to hold the keys of the Sruti & fix for us our gate of entrance & the paths of our passage. The Sruti itself is the only eternal authority on the Sruti. I have also held it as a rule of sound interpretation that any apparent incoherence, any want of logical relation & succession of thought in the text must exist in my deficiency of understanding & not in the Seer’s deficiency of thinking. This view I base upon my constant experience of the Upanishads; for I have always found in the end that the writers thought clearly & connectedly & with a perfect grasp of their subject & my own haste, ignorance & immaturity of spiritual experience has always been convicted in the end of the sole responsibility for any defect imputed by the presumption of the logical understanding to the revealed Scripture. The text has to be studied with a great patience, a great passivity, waiting for experience, waiting for light & then waiting for still more light. Insufficient data, haste of conclusions, wilful ramming of one’s own favourite opinions into the text, wilful grasping at an imperfect or unfinished experience, wilful reading of a single narrow truth as the sole meaning of this complex harmony of thought, experience & knowledge which we call the Veda, — these are fruitful sources of error. But if a man can make his mind like a blank slate, if he can enter into the condition of bottomless passivity proper to the state of the calm all-embracing Chaitanya Atma, not attempting to fix what the Truth shall be, but allowing Truth to manifest herself


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in his soul, then he will find that it is the nature of the Sruti to reveal perfectly its own message. For ultimately, as I have already insisted, we can know the subject of the Veda only by the soul & its pure faculty of knowledge, not by verbal scholarship, metaphysical reasoning or intellectual discrimination. By entering into communion with the soul of the thinker which still broods behind the inspired language, we come to realise what he saw, and what he put into his words, what waits there to make itself known to us. By communion with the soul of the Universe which is behind the soul of the thinker & one with it, we get those experiences which illumine & confirm or correct by amplifying our vision of truth in the Sruti. And since no man should lightly hope that he has been able always to think, act & know in this supreme method, it is fitting always to bow down in utter self-surrender to the Master of All, the Lord who as the Knower dwells in himself as name & form & offer to him the truth we have found in the Sruti & the error we have imported in it to do both with the truth & the error whatso He wills in His infinite power, love & wisdom for the purpose of His eternal & infinite Lila.

Chapter I The Subject & Plan of the Upanishad. The Upanishads have but one subject without a second and yet by the very nature of that subject they take all life & being & knowledge for their portion. Their theme is the One who is Many. It is an error which the Adwaitins have popularised to suppose that all the aim of the Upanishads is to arrive at the unconditioned Brahman. A very cursory examination of their contents reveals a much wider and more complex purpose. They strive rather to develop from various standpoints the identity of the One & the Many & the relations of the conditioned to the unconditioned. Granting the unconditioned One, they

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show us how this conditioned & manifold existence consists with, stands in and is not really different from the original unity. Starting from the multitudinous world they resolve it back into a single transcendental existence, starting back from the transcendental they show us its extension within itself in phenomena. Both the multitudinousness & the Unity, the manifestation & the Manifested they establish in the unknowable Absolute of which nothing can be proposed except that in some way different from any existence conceivable to mind or transferable to the symbols of speech, beyond all conception of Time & Space & Circumstance, beyond Personality & Impersonality, beyond Finite & Infinity It Is. They seek not only to tell us of the way of withdrawal from life into unconditioned existence, but also of the way to dwell here in the knowledge & bliss of the Supreme. They show us the path to heaven & the true joy of the earth. Dwelling on the origin of things & the secret of life & movement, they have their parts of science, — their physics, their theory of evolution, their explanation of heredity. Proceeding from the human soul to the Universal, they have their minutely scrupulous, subtle & profound system of psychology. Asserting the existence of worlds & beings other than those that live within the compass of our waking senses, they have their cosmogony, theogony, philosophy of Nature & of mental & material nature powers. The relations of mind to matter & soul to mind, of men to the gods & the illimitable Master Soul to the souls apparently limited in bodies, have all their authority in the Upanishads. The philosophical analysis of Sankhya, the practices of Tantra, the worship & devotion of Purana, the love of the formed Divinity & the aspiration to the Formless, the atomic structure of Vaisheshika & the cardinal principles of Yoga, — whatever has been afterwards strong in development & influential on the Indian Mind, finds here its authority & sanction. Not the unmanifested & unconditioned alone but the identity of the Transcendental & the phenomenal, their eternal relations, the play of their separation & the might of their union, is the common theme of the Upanishads. They are not only for the anchorite but for the householder. They do not reject life


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but embrace it to fulfil it. They build for mankind a bridge by which we can cross over from the limited to the illimitable, the recurrent & transitory to the persistent & eternal, but by which also we can recross & cross again with delight & without danger that once unfathomable & irremeable abyss. They are God’s lamps that illumine the stairs by which we ascend & descend no longer bound but freely & at will the whole scale of existence, finding Him there in His ineffability, concealed in utter luminousness, but also here in the garden of light & shade, manifest in every being. The Upanishads have therefore a common field of thought, experience & knowledge; but in that field each has its own peculiar corner or province. There is nothing vague or ill-connected in their contents, nothing random in their structure. Each sets out with a certain definite thought & aim which it progressively develops & brings to a perfect culmination. The Aitareya for instance has for its subject the workings of the Self in the world as creator and master of evolution; creation, evolution, birth, heredity, death, our present human development are the matter of its brief & pregnant sentences. The Taittiriya takes for its subject the Anandam Brahman, the constitution of the soul in relation to the Infinite Delight in Conscious Being which is God & the reality of existence & reveals the way & the result of its attainment; it develops for us our gospel of eternal Bliss. The Kena starting from the present constitution of consciousness in man affirms the universal Brahman & teaches knowledge & self-surrender to Him as the inscrutable Self & the ever-present Master. Similarly, the Isha has for its subject the nature of human life & action lived & done in the light of Vedantic knowledge & supreme realisation. It is the gospel of a divine life on earth, a consecration of works, the seed & foundation of Karmayoga. The Upanishads are works of inspiration, not of reasoning; therefore we shall not find in them the development of thought or the logical connection of the sentences managed on the system of modern writers. The principle of our modern writing borrowed from the Greeks, who were the first nation to replace inspiration by intellect, resembles the progress of the serpent over a field,

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slow, winding, insinuating, covering perfectly every inch of the ground. The literary method of the ancients resembles the steps of a Titan striding from reef to reef over wide & unfathomable waters. The modern method instructs the intellect, the ancient illumines the soul. In the latter also there is a perfect logical sequence but this logic demands for our understanding & capacity to follow it something of the same illumination which presided at its construction. So profoundly characteristic is this difference that the Greek governs even his poetry by the law & style of the logical intellect, the Indian tends to subject even his prose to the law & style of the illuminated vision. The Sage of the Isha is an inspired poet writing of God & life in a style of clear, but massive & epic sublimity, lofty & grandiose, but without the European epical tendency to amplitude & period, exceedingly terse, pregnant, compactly decisive, — every word stored with meaning & leaving behind it a thousand solemn echoes. These conditions of his method of composition must be taken into full account when we try to interpret his thinking. The theme which he has to develop arises from the fundamental doctrine of the Vedanta, Sarvam khalu idam Brahma, Verily all this is the Brahman. To realise that everything of which we have separate knowledge by the limited & dividing movement of the mind & senses, is limited & separate only in appearance, but in its reality transcends its appearance and is a manifestation, a form in consciousness, an eidolon, a mask of something absolute, transcendental & without limit, — this is the first necessity of true knowledge according to the early thinkers. But when we have realised it, when we know that earth is not earth except in form & idea but the Brahman, man is not man except in form & idea but the Brahman, what then? Can we live in the light of that knowledge or must we abandon life to possess it? For it is obvious that all actions are done through mind with its two great instruments of name & form and if we are to look beyond name & form we must transcend mind & ignore its limitations. How can we do that & still act & live in this world as men act & live? Can one keep one’s eyes fixed on the transcendent & yet move with any ease or safety in the


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phenomenal? Must we not remove our thoughts from That (Tat) in order to deal with this (sarvam idam), — just as a man cannot walk safely on earth if he keeps his eyes fixed on the heavens, but must constantly be removing his gaze from the lofty object of his contemplation? And another & deeper question arises. Is life worth living when we know the Brahman? is there any joy & use in the phenomenal when we know the transcendent, in the recurrent & transient when we know the persistent & eternal, in the apparent when we know the real? Immense is the attraction of the infinite & unlimited, why should we take pleasure in the finite & fleeting? Does not the charm of phenomena disappear with the advent of this supreme knowledge & is it possible to busy ourselves with the phenomenal when its attraction & apparent necessity are removed? Is not persistence in life caused by ignorance and possible only if there is persistence in ignorance? Must we not abandon the world, if we would possess God? forsake Maya if we would become one in the Atman? For who can serve at the same time two masters & such different masters? We know the answer of Shankara, the answer of the later Adwaitin, the Mayavadin; and the answer of most religious minds in India since Buddhism conquered our intellects has not been substantially different. To flee the world & seek God, sums up their attitude. There have been notable exceptions, but the general trend hardly varies. The majority of the pre-Buddhistic Hindus answered the question, if I am not mistaken, in a different sense & attained to a deeper consummation. They answered it in the sense of the Isha Upanishad & the Gita; they held divine life in the Brahman here to be a possibility. The supreme importance of the question is apparent. If the theory of the Illusionist is true, life is an inexplicable breach of Truth, an unjustifiable disturbance in the silence & stillness of the Eternal. It is a freak to be corrected, a snare to be escaped from, a delusion to be renounced, a mighty cosmic whim & blunder. The results upon the nation which produced this tremendous negation, have been prodigious. India has become the land of saints & ascetics, but progressively also of a decaying society and an inert, effete & helpless people. The indignant

. so as to save men the labour of thought & action & give them the assurance that they are doing only the nityakarma necessary to life in the body or the shastric karma which creates the least bondage for future lives & are not heaping up on themselves the burden of long continued existence in this terrible & inexplicable nightmare of . buddhibhedam janayed ajnanam karmasanginam” etc. this must obviously be the sole preoccupation of man in a society governed by this negative ideal. “utsideyur ime lokah . the more minute & rigid the better. To get through the years of life. since for some unreasonable reason that is demanded of us. for the life of the monastery is stricken with the tendency towards a return to the cares & corruptions of life. but to get done with the business as soon as possible & escape by sannyasa into the unconditioned. The religious life of this country has divided itself into two distinct & powerful tendencies. . For the nation any sustained & serious greatness of aim & endeavour becomes impossible. to maintain the body and propagate the race. the life of society sicklied over & rendered impotent by the sense of its own illusion & worthlessness faced with the superiority of the monastic ideal. the Hinduism of the withdrawal from life which has organised itself in the monastery & the hermitage and the Hinduism of social life which has resolved itself into a mass of minute ceremony & unintelligent social practice. you cannot expect either the man or the nation to flourish here. . We see increasing upon it through the centuries the doom announced in the grave warnings of the Gita against the consequences of inaction. sankarasya cha karta syam upahanyam imah prajah . sarirayatrapi akarmanah . If a man or a nation becomes profoundly convinced that this phenomenal life is an illusion. its aims & tendencies of a moment & its values all false values. which will determine every action of life both social & religious.The Life Divine [Draft A] 373 denunciation of the Vishnu Purana against the certain results to society of the Buddhist heresy has been fulfilled in the fate of our strongly Buddhicised Hindu nation. Neither is pure. whatever may be gained in Nirvana. mixture & confusion of dharmas. both are afflicted with sankara. What is chiefly needed by it is an elaborate set of rules.

The great ideals. with the sordid cares of a narrow personal existence. But the attachment to works remains & it tends to satisfy itself by an excessive insistence on the petty field still left to it. it has cursed our rajasic activity with continual inefficiency and our sattwic tendencies with a perpetual weight of return to tamas. weakened and nerveless. have been more & more unknown to us in the later history of our country. from which it sinks back dispirited. No nation. possible only in remote hermitage. we have given ourselves instead to a great negation which. Tato bhuya iva te tamo ya u vidyayam ratah. however inspiring and strength giving by its positive side — for it has its strong positive side — to a few exceptional spirits. Both these sentences of gloom have weighed upon us. can with impunity build its life on a fundamental error about the meaning of life. We have made the life divine well nigh impossible in the world. the universalising & liberating movements which have continually swept rajasic Europe & revivified it. cannot be grasped by the ordinary soul even when it is accepted by the ordinary intellect. preserving an imperishable core of strength in the midst of our weakness & darkness it has returned upon us from age to age and poured its revivifying stream always through our inert mass and our petrifying society. not even a chosen race. is not man’s swadharma. We have not known the harmony which the early Vedantins practised. We are here to manifest God in . — the impulse of final renunciation & the passion of self-devotion to the Master of all or to a spiritual teacher. It is this habit of bhakti that alone has saved us alive. But for all that our great fundamental mistake about life has told heavily. We have had but one world-forgetting impulse & one worldconquering passion. we have divided ourselves into the exclusive seekers after the unconditioned knowledge & the exclusive lingerers in the phenomenal ignorance. and must therefore tend only to destroy his strength & delight in life by imposing upon him an effort beyond our average human capacity. Andham tamah pravishanti ye avidyam upasate. with the mere maintenance of a family.374 Isha Upanishad: Part Two the phenomenal world. desolate forest or lonely mountain. We see an exclusive preoccupation with a petty money-getting.

The problem resolves itself into a few primary & fundamental questions. and in order to do that effectively we must answer the riddle set for us of the coexistence of the eternal & the phenomenal — we must harmonise God & Nature on peril of our destruction. The Isha Upanishad stands first in the order of the Upanishads we should read as of a supreme importance for us & more almost than any of the others. have taken two millenniums to decay. truth of Purana & Tantra which we have mistranslated into a collection of fables and of magic formulae. & been obstinate in Avidya. Since we have here a great unconditioned unity and a great phenomenal multitudinous manifestation. We who possess the secret but misunderstand it. our business is to express & formulate in phenomenal activity such truth as we can command about the Eternal. The European nations have invariably decayed after a few centuries of efflorescence because they have persisted in ignorance. but in the end we have decayed & brought ourselves to the verge of actual death & decomposition. the baffling mystery of an incomprehensible Maya. We can preserve ourselves only by returning to the full & harmonious truth of our religion. truth of Veda which we have mistranslated into the idea of vacant & pompous ceremonial & the truth of Vedanta which we have mistranslated into the inexplicable explanation. Veda & Vedanta are not only the Bible of hermits or the textbook of metaphysicians. what is the essential relation between this unity & this manifestation? Given the coexistence & identity of the reality & the phenomenon where is the key to their identity? what is the principle which harmonises them? and wherein lies the purpose & justification of their coexistence & apparent differentiation? The essential relation being known. what is that practical aspect of the relation upon which we can build securely our life here in this world? Is it possible to do the . but a gospel of life and a guide to life for the individual.The Life Divine [Draft A] 375 our mundane existence. for the nation & for all humanity. because it sets itself with express purpose to solve that fundamental difficulty of life to which since Buddha & Shankara we have persisted in returning so lofty but so misleading an answer.

376 Isha Upanishad: Part Two ordinary works of our human life upon earth consistently with the higher knowledge or in such a way as to embody in our every action the soul of the divine knowledge & the divine guna? What is that attitude towards God & the world which secures us in such a possibility? Or what the rule of life which we must keep before us to govern our practice and what the practical results that flow from its observance? The present curses of phenomenal life seem always to have been the sorrowful trinity of pain. But if they can once be answered. the mighty Sage to whom as an instrument & channel we owe this wise & noble solution asserts the possibility of human works without sin. an escape from death & sorrow? As human beings what is our aim here or what our hope hereafter? These are the great questions that arise from the obscured soul of man to the Infinite & the conflicting & partial answers to them have eternally perplexed humanity. with the initial verse of each swelling passage linking it in the motion of thought to the strain that precedes. Before we proceed to any work of analysis or isolate each note in order to obtain its full value. simply. satisfyingly — so as to leave no true demand of the God in man upon the world unsatisfied. then the riddle of existence is solved. it will be convenient to have a synthetical understanding of the main ideas that run through the symphony and perceive . the harmony of its thought worked out in four successive movements. embracingly. death & limitation. The Isha Upanishad undertakes to answer them all. In explaining & justifying these original positions he answers incidentally all the other great human questions. even in this body & in this society. The structure of the Upanishad is built up. grief & stain in the light of the one spiritual attitude that is consistent with the conscious & true knowledge of things & in the strength of the golden rule by which alone a divine life here can be maintained. will these practical results of a Vedantic life include the acceptance of this great burden and this besetting darkness or has mankind even here. Setting out with a declaration of God’s purpose in manifestation for which the world was made & the golden rule of life by which each man individually can utterly consummate that divine purpose.

for thus it is with thee & not otherwise. denoting law. stable & eternal. They can only say that there are these phenomena which represent themselves as acting in these processes to the thought & senses. whatsoever single thing is moving in this universe of motion: by that abandoned thou shouldst enjoy. When we have known what the world is. — these are the two terms of all our knowledge. He being known. The end of all Science is Agnosticism. The Rishi takes these two great terms. For this great flux of Nature. all the rest is known. Material Philosophy & Science have to admit in the end that because they do not know the Transcendental. Doing verily works in this world thou should wish to live a hundred years. one. truly are those worlds and enveloped in blind gloom whither they passing hence arrive who are hurters of their own souls. God & the World. therefore they cannot be sure about the phenomenal. & unless we know what God is. Tasmin vijnate sarvam vijnatam. neither do thou covet any man’s possession. lays down the principle of which every Upanishad is an exposition. In the very beginning the Rishi strikes the master note to which all the rest of the harmony vibrates. no man can say. God. transient. yet its every movement. we have still to know what God is.The Life Divine [Draft A] 377 something of the manner with which they pass into or help each other and build up by their agreement a great and harmonious philosophy of life. by which we mean a great cosmic motion & activity.” So runs the first movement of the Upanishad. but whether their appearance is their reality. pointing . II The First Movement “For the Lord all this is a habitation. yea. action clingeth not to a man. From their relation we start. to their relation in union or withdrawal from union all our life & activity return. multitudinous. when we have exhausted Science & sounded all the fathomless void. the world shifting. we know nothing fundamental about the world. Sunless. shows us nowhere a centre of knowledge & intelligent control.

from the Sun to the atom & the grain of dust to the constellations & their group. It shows nowhere any definite unity except that of sum and process. yet every little portion of it the more we analyse. Piece [2] of the Appendix. The Rishi starts with the practical relation. small or great. The relation between the world & its Lord on which the Rishi bids us fix as the one on whose constant & established realisation we can best found the thoughts & activities of the Life Divine. first. that which she obeys & worships & of which she speaks to us always & yet seems always by the whirl of her motions in mind & matter to conceal. the Purusha. the Lord. is the relation of the Inhabitant & His inhabitation. is his dwelling place & that which dwells in it. the above paragraph is followed by one that is bracketed and struck through. is related to the above paragraph in theme. mean or mighty. jagati.378 Isha Upanishad: Part Two to harmony. . For habitation by Him it was made. from the god to the worm. we have to see so many houses & in each an inhabitant. is the Lord. cries out more loudly. not only as a whole. is building or will build in the whirl & race of its eternal movement. is the Lord. small or great. This is reproduced as piece [1] of the Appendix.” Every single thing in it is perishable & mutable. sweet or sombre. He is Ish. the ever moving. but every object which it has built up. each. with every object. He 1 In the manuscript. one inhabitant only. “There is One & not many. Looking around upon the multitude of objects in the world. the essential relation between the Transcendent & the phenomenal. We have seen that the problem of life involves two essential questions. speaks of a centre somewhere of knowledge & intelligent control. This is the knowledge which we must win. a passage written separately. Eternal & Immutable. it is He that is the centre of knowledge & eternal control. a mere knot of motion. that practical aspect of the relation on which we can build securely our life & action in the world.1 We start then with this truth. beautiful or repulsive. Prakriti. yet for ever its ancient & inevitable movements thunder in our ears the chant of the immutable & eternal. secondly. the attitude which having attained we must guard & keep. She is one term. He is that One. jagat.— Ed.

In every man I meet. Allah. it is our experience that a rule of life is needed. the Lord. but anish. it is to live & enjoy. Shiva. but the wearer is One. But in practice we find that we are not Ish. saint & criminal. For all this is bhogartham — for the sake of enjoyment. Manhood & animality. Narayana. since I also must be He. jnata. the Master for whose pleasure Prakriti acts. but slave. bharta. This is the great secret of existence & the condition which we must first satisfy if we wish to live divinely & be divine. continues or withdraws it. When we see around us man & animal & leaf & clod. Allah. can only be one. things begin. But He is also & preeminently bhokta. but . endure or cease. not knowing & controlling. This is. Krishna. their relation is the enjoyment of the one by the other. animation & inanimation. internally. her enjoyer. the Knower who watches & takes into His cognisance her activities. we are not to forget or ignore what we see but we must look on infinity as a house of manifest being & in it one great infinite indwelling Consciousness. the anumanta who gives or withholds or after giving withdraws His consent and as He gives. but ajna. God has made this world in His own being that He may in mind & other principles live phenomenally in phenomena & enjoy this phenomenal existence even while secretly or openly He enjoys also His transcendent existence. When we see the infinite ether containing this multitude of suns & solar systems. Narayana. So it is with the Purusha & Prakriti. philosopher & peasant. In friend & stranger. king & beggar. Ishwara. Krishna. we must look on these names & forms as so many houses of being and within each the same great inhabitant. The purpose for which a householder builds himself a mansion & dwells in it. I must recognise the Lord I adore. says the Gita. wisdom & ignorance. I must see equally. myself. wealth & poverty. But to translate an internal attitude into the terms of action. God. the Indweller who fills her with his being & supports her actions. its Lord.The Life Divine [Draft A] 379 who has built also the whole & inhabits the whole. our necessary attitude towards God & the world. anumanta. not master. in my lover & my slayer. Shiva. sainthood & criminality are the robes he wears. not jnata & anumanta. The Soul or God is.

Tena. The facts of life as we live it contradict at every turn the sublime dogma of the Vedantist. — Ed. You have not to cast the world & its objects themselves away from you. we struggle to enlarge ourselves & our scope. Essentially this makes no difference. struggling for knowledge & mastery. unattaining. Everything in the world has to be renounced and yet. Limited. that. we are full of sorrow & racked by pain. tena tyaktena. to abandon the world is to contradict God’s purpose by avoiding the problem instead of solving it. unpossessed of our desire. How then is the problem to be solved? By that abandoned thou shouldst enjoy. bhunjithah. for possession implies enjoyment. limits the divine lila & stultifies our occupation of the body. movement & medium created by the Lord for the purpose. to sacrifice self to others is a half solution which. clouded. not an immortal enjoyer in delight. . we demand & we strive. To enjoy as we enjoy now is to lift to our lips a cup of mixed honey & poison. The fulfilment of self both in our own joy & in the joy of others & in the joy of the whole world is the object of our life. death & limitation. do not thou covet any man’s possession. reacted upon by hostile forces. through the thing so renounced. Two other separately written passages whose points of insertion were not marked are reproduced as pieces [3] and [4] of the Appendix. By that you have to enjoy — for the world and all in it is meant for the purpose of enjoyment. What are we to do? To struggle with God in others & God in the world or live only for God in others & not at all for God in ourselves? In his second line the Rishi utters his golden rule of life which supplies us with the only practical solution of the difficulty.380 Isha Upanishad: Part Two ignorant.2 Shankara translates “possess”. It is a deeper. But the 2 Sri Aurobindo wrote the paragraph that follows on a separate page of the manuscript but marked it for insertion here. refers back to yat kincha jagat. for then you defeat your own object. but by that abandoned. a truer renunciation that is asked of us. but victim of sorrow. by that renounced. it is the means. not “enjoy”. by itself. We see others possess & ourselves lack & we struggle to dispossess them and possess in their stead. you have to enjoy.

does not struggle & demand. weeps. august. is what the Lord wills. the whirl. free from anxiety. sama. then only is enjoyment possible. udasina. — Purushah Prakritistha. What the Lord wills for His lila in this habitation. craves. so hard to solve in harmony with the actual facts of existence. & it is clearly the sense which the Rishi intended. but jagat. weeps & struggles because ensnared in limitations it does not understand. pain. then only can the bitterness be cast out of the cup & only the pure honey remain. one eddy in the shifting & struggling movement & clash of forces — perfectly guided by Isha. he does not need even to command. joyous. rather every word is made to carry its entire weight & even run over with fullness of meaning. see & do. This then is the renunciation demanded. To the ordinary mind action seems impossible or purposeless without desire. — which. Immediately the great recurring problem presents itself of works and the cessation from works. but the renunciation of the attachment. the craving. Nowhere in this Upanishad is there random writing. is not the pure Self but the mind. If we would live divinely. yet full of delight in all that we here in Prakriti. but to our human understandings unguided or ill-guided — which we call Prakriti. the demand — when that is renounced. For the reason that we are anisha is because we demand. covets.The Life Divine [Draft A] 381 ordinary sense of the root is to enjoy. In this great knowledge & its practice we can become desireless & calm. we must realise the Lord in ourselves. — the ancient crux which it is so easy to get rid of by a trenchant act of logic. the movement. That which struggles in us. — not Ish. for Prakriti knows His will & hastens to obey it. to the logical mind it seems inevitable that the more one penetrates into the supreme calm. — say. for the collocation of the strongly opposite ideas of tyaga & bhoga can no more be an accident than the significant collocation of jagati & jagat in the preceding lines. Prakriti will bring. as we shall find. what Prakriti brings for our lila. we must have sadharmya with Him & be as He. grief. the farther one must move . He who is Lord & Master. In order to make his meaning perfectly clear the Rishi adds “Do not covet”. not the renunciation of the thing itself. fights. struggles.

would condescend to the enjoyment of external objects? Or if he condescended. therefore. does not enjoyment by the thing renounced mean enjoyment of the renunciation & not of the thing itself? Is it not the enjoyment of the eremite. deciding all things by his triumphant & inexorable logic. the spectator watching the action of the world but himself no part of it. his rejection of action. renunciation. — that pravritti & nivritti. Vidyaranya. freedom of desire is only easy by freedom from activity. Does not then enjoyment without demand or craving. Shankara. “Doing verily works here one should wish to live a hundred years.” It is not surprising that the great Shankara with his legacy of Buddhist pessimism. unflinching. eremite in soul if not in body. feeling perhaps that his master’s dealings . — but every incongruity & impossibility is to be accepted rather than suffer such an assertion to stand as the teaching of the Sruti. peace seem only to be secure when one rests motionlessly established in the impersonal Brahman. shama & karma are eternally opposed.382 Isha Upanishad: Part Two from all impulse to action. action cleaveth not to a man. thus it is with thee & it is not otherwise than this. the hampered fulfilments which are all this world’s actualisation of infinite possibility. Nor is it surprising that Shankara’s greatest follower. it is the greater bliss of other worlds that would attract him and not the broken shreds which are all this world’s joys. To all these ancient questionings the reply of the Upanishad is categorical. faced by this massive & tremendous asseveration should have put it aside by his favourite device of devoting it to the service of unenlightened minds. In practice the seeker after perfection finds that calm. that is alone possible to the desireless mind? And even if it is not the sole possible enjoyment. is it not the superior & preferable? Who that has self-enjoyment in the soul. joy. explicit. although it occurs apparently as an integral portion of the argument & there is not a hint or a trace of its being intended as a contradiction or qualification of the main teaching. although too this interpretation is stultified both by the run of the two lines & by the immediate occurrence of the next verse. insists that action is inconsistent with the state divine. his sense of the nullity of the world.

Life — full & unabridged in its duration. consecrated to divine use. So long as we are in manifest existence. Kurvanneva. uncommitted to any previous theory. for even the state of withdrawal of the ascetic. Doing his works in this world a man shall be joyously willing to live the full span of years allowed to the mortal body. But to us. Thou shalt do works & not abstain from doing them and the works are the works of this material world. not of the inner spirit. — full and uncontracted in its activity is accepted. having his eye on the great dispute. The wise mind. For he knows that bondage and freedom are states of the outer mind. here.The Life Divine [Draft A] 383 with the text in this commentary were of the most arbitrary & violent. And it is so imposed for the reason already stated. in this life & body. so long we are in the jagati using. for there is none free & none bound. No man. he accepts that which God intends fully & frankly and only seeks the best way to fulfil God in this existence which he occupies on the way to another. If he grows weary. Because in other words this is the law of our being and this is the will of the Eternal. With this great admission the Vedanta can no longer be a mere ascetic gospel. as the Gita clearly teaches. welcomed. because He has made this world for His habitation & as a means for His enjoyment & a thing for His delight — & this his great will & purpose no man can be allowed to frustrate. says the Rishi. this sloka offers no difficulty but is rather an integral & most illumining step in the development of a great & liberating doctrine. should have preferred to exclude the Isha from his list of authoritative Upanishads. he is not yet an enlightened soul. influencing & impressing ourselves on the jagat and we cannot escape from the necessity self-imposed on Himself by God within us. can abstain from works. even the self-collected existence of the silent Yogin is an act and an act of tremendous effect & profoundest import. the illumined soul knowing this truth makes no vain attempt to square this circle. those that are to be done iha. if he has haste in his soul for the side beyond death. if he seeks to abridge it. none panting after liberation . And the Rishi affirms his reason for acceptance — because so it is with thee & it is not otherwise than this. not yet divine.

It follows then that the way to liberate oneself is not to renounce works but to rise from mind to Supra-mind. but on the stream of Prakriti. na karma lipyate nare. from the consciousness of mental being. action leaves no stain on the soul. he sees himself in mental consciousness as if carried forward in the stream of causality. determines action & is not determined by it. then he recovers his lordship — which in his higher being he has never lost — and appears to himself what he has always been in reality. It does not & cannot. the soul allows mind to mix itself up with its works. the Ish. but only the Eternal rejoicing secretly or manifestly in His innumerable habitations. swarat. When through the principle of desire in the mind the soul. to the consciousness of self-being. but it is not necessary to forget phenomena. uses action & is not victimised by it. Nivritti or calm is the eternal state & very nature of the soul. The enemy therefore is . samrat. but it is the secret of the world obscured only by ignorance in the mind. Their coexistence & harmony is not only possible. for the wheel of karma is an error and the chain of our works is a grand illusion. sambhava. For action is the movement of Prakriti and the chain of action is nothing more terrible or mystic than the relation of cause & effect. but the action does not adhere to the soul. he seems to the mind in him to be bound by the effects of his works. the lord. swayambhava or asambhuti. when he relinquishes desire. “Action clingeth not to a man. Bondage is a state of the mind. & liberation is not the result of cessation of works. pravritti is in manifestation the eternal state and very nature of Prakriti.384 Isha Upanishad: Part Two & none fleeing from bondage. The fear of action is Maya. mixes himself up in the whirl of Prakriti.” Bondage is not the result of works. But if action in its nature bound the soul. The works of the liberated man produce an effect indeed. nailed helplessly to the wheel of karma? Not so. not on the soul which is above its action and not under it. the impossibility of combining action with calm & renunciation is a false sanskara. free in his being. But in that case we are eternally bound by the chain of our works. buddhir lipyate. It is necessary to remember oneself. then freedom here would be impossible. liberation is another state of the mind. That chain does not bind the Master.

The gati. Abolish it. trans-mortal journey or destination of the soul. to disengage & fulfil our real self. to possess our divine being. Not that God in us can be slain. And to this we may arrive either by wilfulness of passion or by intellectual wilfulness. Those who fall from this development. from which we constantly return till we are ready here for the third. not works bind us. for the consummation. The idea of separateness. Our life here is only one circumstance in our progress — the fundamental circumstance. see God alone everywhere & all difficulty disappears. disappointment. grief. the initial movement in the triple stride of Vishnu. but not inessential effect of the knowledge he is developing — the life after this one which we have to use here. images of the Most High. to take the full vigorous sense of the word used. Instead of becoming gods. As yet the Sage does not proceed to any positive statement. Those important enunciations completed. we may become misrepresentations of Him. tyaga & bhoga move harmoniously to the perfect fulfilment of the divine purpose. of limitation with its fruit of desire. It is the first step in our journey. indeed. but by a negative movement he indicates the importance of the question. There is beyond it a second step. but works done in the state of ignorance give us the illusion of bondage. the Paratpara Purusha in His effulgent glory. since earth is the pratistha or pedestal of our consciousness in manifest being. pain. on our harmonious progress towards divine being. We are to become atmavan.The Life Divine [Draft A] 385 not action. — but still the fundamental is not the final. — this alone is our stumbling block. false . That is the hidden thing in us which we have to develop. but ignorance. Nivritti & Pravritti. internal struggle. who turn aside from it are self-hurters or. the Sage proceeds to a minor. self-slayers. our progress into worlds beyond. Suras. Our future state depends on our fullness at the time of our passage. — but there may be temporary perdition of the apparent divinity by the murder of its selfexpression. for death of the soul is impossible. occupied profoundly the Vedantic mind as it has occupied humanity in all except in its brief periods of entire materialistic this-worldliness. the pratistha is not the consummation but only the means to the consummation.

but may even seem sometimes more noble than the gods & their victorious legions. when they subdue. because they have used the heart or intellect to serve passion & ignorance. They may be grandiosely mighty like Hiranyakashipu. or of impenetrable gloom. The substantial sense resulting from both readings is the same. it may be in furious & hungry insistence on a great aspiration. from an immense though possibly lofty egoism. till they become demoniac in nature. to the worlds of delusion & shadow. but still a beast of the field. To what worlds do we then journey? The ordinary reading of the first word in the third verse ˘ of the Upanishad. who from temperamental passion wreck themselves by the furious pursuit in desire of a false object or from intellectual passion wreck themselves by the blind pursuit in belief of a false idea. sunless. Our after state will be Asurya. Mole ruit sua. they collapse by excess of greatness. the vital force & might which is the basis of all energetic & impetuous feeling & action. But they fall whether great or petty. Titanic. they follow a path because it is their own from Titanical attachment. The self-willed ones. The Titans or Asuras of the Veda are souls of mere undisciplined might. Titans. it may be in tremendous devotion to a principle. They fall by their own mass. distorted by onesidedness. fiercely self-righteous like the younger Prahlada.386 Isha Upanishad: Part Two because distorted images. They are those who found themselves not on light & calm but on asu. enslaved the spiritual to the material & vital elements & subordinated the man in them to the Naga. They need not be ignoble souls. is Asurya. but the colour given will be different. but there is a possible ˆ variation Asurya. distorted by imperfection. When they hack & hew at the god within them. Asuras or else souls unillumined by the sun of Knowledge & if illumined at all then only by false lights which eventually become eclipsed in darkness. ostentatiously largehearted like Bali. noble or ignoble & in their fall they are thrust down by Vishnu to Patala. unillumined. The Naga is the symbol of the mysterious earthbound force in man. . sunless. Wisest he of the beasts of the field. cloud & torture themselves till they stumble forward into misery & night. the serpent.

who see in Vidya & Avidya only vyavahara. worlds enveloped in blind gloom. rejecting nothing. In either case the intention of the Sage is evident from the later passages of this Upanishad. effecting everything. our symbol & principle of divine Knowledge.. Even those who not yet attaining. & persistence in such error is an obstinacy fatal to the soul in its immediate prospects. infinite in calm by renunciation... III God then & the world are before us. they are men perfected. There are materialised states of darkness in the conscious being in which they must work out the bewilderment & confusion they have fastened on themselves by an obstinate persistence in self-will & ignorance. light & shadow reflected in Him for the use of self-expression in phenomena. exclusiveness means ignorance. Those who accept the unity of the Brahman. — it fails to cross successfully over death & enters into trans-mortal darkness. Whether we follow exclusively after Avidya or exclusively after Vidya. the Inhabitant to be recognised as the Lord of things even when He appears otherwise & . With this warning (for the promise comes afterward) closes the first movement of the Upanishad. preferring nothing. we go equally astray. infinite in might & bliss by enjoyment. exclusiveness means confusion & division of the indivisible Brahman. embracing like Brahman all being in themselves. If we read Asurya we shall then have to translate “Verily it is to the worlds of the Titans. follow faithfully this law & this ideal journey onwards in the way of their self-fulfilment and are lifted by all-purifying Agni to the regions of the Sun where they possess their perfect oneness & receive their consummate felicity. who live in the knowledge of the One in the Many. bearing everything. that they after passing hence resort who are selfslayers.” Otherwise it is the worlds farthest removed from the Sun. Temporarily — because eternal perdition is impossible.The Life Divine [Draft A] 387 not the winged Garuda revered to be the upbearer of divinity who opens his vans to the sunlight and soars to the highest seat ˘ of Vishnu. they are the siddhas.

that is the practical relation between the unconditioned & the phenomenal which we have to accept as the unalterable basis of our rule of right living. — God & the world are to be possessed by a pure & infinite enjoyment. with the particular knots in it of apparent movement & apparent status which we call formations or objects. or bliss which depends on a perfect renunciation not of the world. which do not & cannot stain the soul or bind it. These poor & imperfect movements [are] to be replaced by a mighty calm and a divine satisfaction. although fundamental to the practical living of the divine life and the sufficient & right attitude for its fulfilment might yet. what becomes of the universal unity Vedanta teaches and how are we not handed over to duality and a fundamental disparity. We are not to renounce works. but to be liberated through acceptance of works in a luminous knowledge of their divine use & nature. a stream of form & action by which He can enjoy His own conditioned being.388 Isha Upanishad: Part Two His habitation to be regarded merely as a movement set going by Him for phenomenal purposes. If we mutilate life through self-will & ignorance we imprison ourselves after death in worlds of confusion & darkness and here like a ship befogged & astray in dense sea mists are hindered & long delayed in our divine voyage. Stated by itself & without development or qualification the first line of this great teaching. . like all trenchant assertions. Ananda. God & the World. But this general movement. — what is it? Movement of Mahat or movement of what nature. is he different from His habitation? If He is different & the habitation is real. lead us into a profound error & misunderstanding. — real or unreal? And the inhabitant. not mutilation of life is to be our ideal. if not a fundamental opposition? It is to remove this possible misunderstanding that the Rishi now proceeds to a completer though not yet entirely complete statement of universal existence. the Movement & the Dweller in the movement. He has stated the practical relation. of the demand & the groping. But now farther questions arise. but fulfilment through life of the intention of the Most High in His phenomenal manifestation. too positively & exclusively taken. but of the limited struggle & the ignorant attachment.

But now we learn that also the name & form & property.The Life Divine [Draft A] 389 he now states the essential relation. not two separate categories. but One being. That is within all this. Standing.” All this. — a sensation the psychology of which is not well understood & being misunderstood gives . In It Matariswan sets activity. it outstrips others as they run. not only the constant. The Inhabitant is not different from His habitation. even for minds not ordinary. in the solemn language of the Gita.” Not only the stable but the unstable. the real & the unreal. eko achalah sanatanah. but only One. the same that is outside all this. take it into the soul & realise it there in feeling & consciousness. He says “There is One who unmoving is swifter than mind. the bird. the Brahman. We know already by the first verse that the innumerable inhabitants of this moving universe are not essentially many. He is this man & that woman. but are one Soul disporting in many bodies or not really disporting but supporting the multiform play of Prakriti. is the Brahman. not only the Inhabitant but His habitation. Even the greatest materialist in theory regards himself in his feelings as a mind or a soul and is aware of a gulf between himself & the inanimate. motionless. It is ekam. without beginning or end. In Yoga also one of our first realisations is the separateness of the body by the practical removal of the dehatmabuddhi. really to grasp the intellectual conception. That which moves not is the Brahman but also that which moves is the Brahman. That moves & that does not move. the attitude of leaning. but the recurrent. the manhood & the womanhood. not a number [of] different beings. in truth. Brahman & Maya. This is a difficult point for the ordinary mind to admit intellectually. one. yonder ancient leaning on his staff. all is the Brahman. not only Purusha but Prakriti. not merely a base & ugly dream. it is difficult. It amounts in effect to the fundamental tenet of Vedanta in the Upanishads “Sarvam khalu idam Brahma. the age & the youth. this blue winged bird. the blueness & the scarlet hue. as in the dogma of the Sankhyas. not merely Maya. the wing. that is far & the same that is verily near. neither have the gods reached It for it goes always in front. the staff. that scarlet winged. His opinions contradict his heart’s consciousness.

One in the One & One in the Many. unconditioned to our awareness . Brahman realising Himself by identity both beyond & in and as all phenomenal existences. conditioned & unconditioned. separation & logical distinction instead of rising beyond mindlimitations & mind-methods to God’s transcendent embracing vision which sees all things & states & is affected & bound by none. They all therefore make the essential error of duality. It is for this reason. an attitude of analysis. — It is the Brahman as we see It in Its relation to phenomena. All are ruled or driven by this dim sensation or clear belief that the subjective soul seated within them alone is God. thought & action. alone the Self. They all insist on a mental attitude to things. Brahman is spoken of here. as if all were not essentially equal in their divinity. the material as gross & even foul and the objective as unreal — as if all this were not merely arrangement & vyavahara. Tat. is not God & is therefore worthless & evil. Sa. Hence we have a proneness to regard the inanimate as undivine. that the objective movement of Spirit seeming to the movement of mind & senses to be outside & apart from us. Brahman equally present in clod & man. body & soul. to discourage this error that the Sage insists on his ekam in the neuter — not only is He divine. the religious man to treat the body & often the intellect also as an impediment. conditioned to our awareness in vyavahara.390 Isha Upanishad: Part Two rise to many errors. praising the heart only. for to the unknowable utterness of Parabrahman such phrases as “swifter than the mind” or such ideas as outrunning the gods or going in their front cannot be applied. at will & coexistently transcendental & phenomenal. as if the material was not also Atman & spirit. but That is divine. the contemplative spiritual man to aim at casting out both mind & body & banishing from him the very thought & perception of the objective. not as the absolute Parabrahman outside all relation to life & phenomena. and apparently so diverse merely because of the infinite variation of form & guna! By this cardinal error the intellectual man comes to despise & neglect the body. God regarding Himself subjectively as universal cognisant Personality. God in the world. from which eventually every kind of ignorance & confusion arises.

because I am & think. it is not that”. For the mind served by the senses is the instrument which men use to grasp & measure the world & the gods are the presiding powers of all mental & physical functions. Its place of insertion was not marked: Of the Absolute all we can say is “It is not that. because I think. I am. It can only seek to know the movement & process of the world. is swifter than the mind & therefore the Gods cannot attain to It because It goes always in front. it is unknowable in Itself. But even the movement of God in nature is too vast & swift for the mind to grasp. but neither the mind nor the senses.3 That is the One & sole Existence which. but of that which is beyond & behind movement & process. they end? Who shall say that those laws are not byelaws only. it seizes. arranges to itself in its own terms of vision & classes them triumphantly as ultimate laws of Nature. which is the subject of this & the following shloka. things are” — propositions which as the expression of a relative & intermediate fact have their validity but are as an universal & ultimate statement untrue. it works in space or time on particular objects or groups of objects or at most on the sum of all objects known. it can only go as far back as itself and say “I. am He. It catches at & seizes petty surrounding eddies or even great masses of movement at a little distance. It always goes far in front of any swiftest agency by which we can pursue It. . though indeed It does not move. Ordinarily. mind. knowable only in our existence here or in relation to our existence here. description or suggestion. neither sensation nor reason can attain to the Brahman. not to be characterised by any epithet. if at all. But who has sailed all these waters or can tell where.The Life Divine [Draft A] 391 in paramartha. the thinker or the object of thought. or the charter & constitution of a single dependency only or province? Follow 3 The following sentence was written in the top margin of the manuscript page. what can it know? At most it can feel or be told that He the eternal & ineffable exists. Mind always starts from a point. What is the precise significance of this imagery? The intention can only be understood if we remember the nature of mental action upon which such enormous stress is here laid and the limitations of that action.

there are unguessed universes of consciousness behind to which you have no present access. travels still in front. Even here who has traced out the purpose of creation or systematised the ways of Providence? Of a hundred things that happen immediately around us. they gallop. understood existence. though the reason deduces it. classified His laws. But of all this how much can the gods of mind. to what end it conduced. reason & sense ascertain? They run. — He is sure to be whirling universes into being far in front. Yes. the bullet. all material swiftnesses. Pursue Him into the deepest recesses of experimentable being. trivial or absurd. there may be near to us universes of another Time. Who measured Space? Can any vastest Mind find out when Things began or know when & how they shall end? Nay. Already God was in front of us. our discoveries . above. the lightning. as He is behind. below. on every side. Space & arrangement to which our material dimensions & mind & sense limitations forbid us entrance. our enlightenment becomes the laughingstock of better enlightened generations. Infinity is only one of His aspects. even its necessity. our knowledge is turned into foolishness. or of what ordering of things it was a piece & movement? Yet. one realises that an infinite Wisdom presides over the smallest happening & eternally links today’s trifling action to the grandiose movement of the centuries — nay. but That though it moves not. yet all the time. the meteor. Our latest knowledge will always be a candle burning in the mists of the night. that every thought which passes through our minds however weak. have fathomed His ways. had no need to move. even when we think we are in front of Him. as the eye opens to the innermost secret of things. a touch of His finger surprises us as He speeds past & our theories crumble. ascertained & determined the future by the past. suddenly we stumble & come across a new landmark or footprint which shows where That has passed. they outstrip the arrow. but the very nature of Infinity is that the mind cannot grasp it. can we even in a dozen instances tell more than fragmentarily & at a hazard why the thing has happened. It standing outstrips others as they run. has its mark.392 Isha Upanishad: Part Two God to the utmost confines of observable space. in the depths of itself its purpose.

The Life Divine [Draft A] 393 pebbles picked up on the shore of a boundless ocean. a temple of God. life & matter are particular currents. but we cannot know It in all the vastness of Its phenomenal workings. into supratemporal consciousness. He who was before Time. This conscious-being is That — the sole Reality which assumes so many appearances. Time & Causality are not different. All things are created in God’s consciousness which has no more to move than a man has to move when he follows a particular train of thought. — that which is the essence of the jagati. It is the mind that runs in us but what is it that runs swifter than mind just as mind runs swifter than any material force? Something of which mind & matter are lower movements. sukritam. but translated . All that we can do is to seek the boundless Lord of a boundless universe & here & elsewhere to know each habitation and recognise its Inhabitant. That stands really & does not run. well built. It does not run. is still just what He was after Time is finished — drawn back. (that is expressly excluded in the [eighth] verse). but time & space exist in the Brahman. The dweller is divine. delightful & holy — my God Himself manifested as name & form. He has not moved in His being an inch. Space is a symbol into which Thought has translated an arrangement in supraspatial Consciousness. Not only can we not know That in all Its absolute. Therefore it appears that both jagati & jagat are no movement of matter or material force. the essential conscious being of which mind. Much we may yet know by the mind. not more than a corner or a system. He has not changed in His being by the shadow of a shadow. transcendent reality. nor of mind. without change or end. What then is the movement by which He outstrips others or is far in front? The clue is given in the expression swifter than mind. but not all. This side of the Sun or that side of Lyra are to Him one point. that is to say. a mysterious activity the essence of which is limitless & absolute Awareness not expressible in language. but the house too divine. one. motionless. or rather no point at all. He is still eko achalah sanatanah. (that is expressly excluded here) but of Conscious being in itself. for where should it run when it does not exist in time & space.

the second movement of the Sage’s thought cannot be entirely understood by us. management. because karmani expresses individual actions & it is here the general universe-activity of Brahman that is intended. indeed. the motional or first energetic principle of Nature founded in Akasha. the movement of the sun & star. working in it as Prana. work or activity (Latin opus). It emerges in the motional principle of expansion & contraction represented to the senses as the gaseous state. which by disturbing the even. represented to our senses in matter as ether. the growth of the tree. Tasminn apo Matariswa dadhati. the static principle of extension which is the eternal matrix of things. in the containing. For the root dha has always the idea of arrangement. he that rests in the matrix of things. the progress of life in all its multitude. that is to say Vayu.394 Isha Upanishad: Part Two in the symbols of our Thought here into a movement in Time. self-contained vibration (shabda) of the ether. (t jhsi) establishes. In this Brahman Matariswan sets activity. Matariswan is the energy of God in Prakriti which enters into as into a womb or matrix (Matar). produces vibratory waves (kshobha). especially as breath & as air. generates action & . Tasmin. called by us therefore Vayu. unless it is assumed. is the Sage’s intention to emphasise the divineness of that particular movement of Prakriti which is the basis of karmani. human action in this mortal life. He could very well in his age & surroundings take it for granted. this Vedic word being used in preference to karmani. The reason for introducing this final and more limiting idea about the Brahman as the culminating phrase of this shloka. This universal tenet of Vedanta. is first concealed in. sets in its place & manages. for. although not expressly stated. but we have to state it explicitly. — as a child in the womb — & then emerges out of the static condition of extension. working out of things. but that which is manifest as work productive & creative. the universal life-activity. It is. is yet implied in the Rishi’s thought & follows inevitably from his expression. Apas. not indeed all Prakriti. Space & Causality. stable & fulfilling active Brahman already described. the flowing of the waters. dadhati. Matariswa. the foundation of all Vedantic thinking.

work. our apas. as the Rigvedic Rishis already knew. rasa. task here. He as Life. manifesting himself in relation to His other movements as the cause. upholder of our vitality. tamoguna) & creates contact (sparsha) which is the basis of mental & material sensation & indeed of all relation in phenomenal existence. In this the movement of our universe finds the means for its central purpose. apas or jala (water). prompter & cause of our actions. action-reaction & contact. using the other three elementary or fundamental states known to Vedic enquiry.The Life Divine [Draft A] 395 reaction (rajas) on which ether behind is continually impressing a tendency to equipoise (sattwa). valid not only in matter but in life & mind. — agni (fire). There are more developed beings. for sense & feeling & thought in the animal creation. It is of this apparently insignificant pebble. Life-action. condition & master of vitality. seed. the stone that builders not Almighty. ultimately. is this Matariswan? Brahman himself. represented to us in matter as earth. for reason & illumination & progress to godhead in man. identifying himself with Vayu. then. & prithwi (earth). the failure of which is the only cause of disintegration of movement (death. supporting himself on these principles of wave-vibration. not All-wise would have rejected. organised for life and growth only in the plant. but unorganised in the metal. But who. superior states. is latently active in the utter inanimate. that God has made the keystone of this work of His construction. the materialising or outward flowing principle of continuation. the central activity of this universe. through it fulfils itself. in it culminates or from it falls away. reveals himself as universal life activity. present. is not indeed the whole action of the universe. But it is. mrityu. Matariswan. whether here or in other planets. deploying existence in settled forms by the fivefold (panchabhautic) complex movement of the material Brahman. the basis of all solids. represented to our senses in matter as sap. its culminatory activity. represented to our senses in matter as heat. light & fire. When God has . — Matariswan. the formatory principle of intension. nor is our human life-action. for sempiternal immortality in the gods. other worlds. the stabilising principle of condensation. of conscious being as the essential substance of things.

Tad ejati tannaijati. the apparent extension in Itself of the Brahman. Succession & therefore change is the fundamental law of God’s ideative & formative activity in the terms of these three great symbols. with prithivi as his pratistha. Tat or That. Brahman here manifested. so it must be with us & not otherwise. then we may pass away finally into other conditions or into the unconditioned. to the ignorant tossed about in it. but God’s movement. the manifest might. & movement itself is only such a symbol. but also always mutable & inconstant because she works in Time. It moves or appears to move. immutable and eternal. terms of perception which have no meaning except as measures of movement or progression from one moment to another. not something utterly delusive or diabolical. but till then. — as action of Prakriti & the corresponding knowledge in Purusha. not the kingdom of a lower spirit or an aberration in knowledge. because He is beyond Time & Space. And this principle is not undivine but divine. Condition-movement (although as we shall see governed by durable patterns or general processes of conscious being which . mahimanam asya. it does not move in reality. moves & That does not move. Time-movement. We can now grasp what the Sage intends when he says. But the inhabitant is one & constant. one point to another. in Its movement in Itself. The Habitation is the creation of a formative movement of Prakriti. who is indeed always recurrent in her doings because she & her ways are eternal. one state or event to another. Surrounded apparently by the whirl of Prakriti. till God here is satisfied. — in the conception of Time. All is the play of a divine Unity. The work is not separate from the worker nor the thought from the thinker. the materials of Life here are God. Space-movement. He in reality exists both as its continent & creator as well as its informing soul. conceptual translations of the actual truth. Till then.396 Isha Upanishad: Part Two fulfilled himself here. the suggestive vague name for the Brahman whether impersonal or above personality or impersonality. That therefore in Itself is unmoving. we come here to fulfil him. Life here is God. master & guide. under these conditions. because these are mere symbols. Space & Causality. Space & Causality.

The Life Divine [Draft A] 397 ensure order & recurrence from one state or form to another) That is mobile. Sooner or later. all here passes out of our view. For That is the content of all this Universe. that which we have reached or passed or are approaching & that towards which we vaguely or blindly move. feel or observe without saying of it “It is He. it is the Brahman. In the subjective also. not only are our surroundings near or far but that which contains our surroundings. Nothing should we think. not only the ungrasped. the identity of the eternal who moveth not. he is not only the unknown. But the justification of the harmony of tyaga & bhoga on this basis has now to be prepared. that which is seated in our hearts. Spaceless. That is the near. active. he removes to a distance in the objective where our mind & senses pursue him until they have to cease or return. Conditionless. The Pantheism or Monism which. of the Timeless. We have the principle of unity by which the practical relation refers back always to the essential & derives from it. therefore. with the eternal who moves. alike their continent & their content. He is near to us in our subjective experience. lives & has its being. sarvam Brahma. On Him in this flux of things we have our sure foundation. but the grasped. Him we see seated for ever. is outside & inside them. That also exceeds & Is apart from every Universe. but the known. That is outside every creature as that in which it moves. Thus we have the essential reality of things. Spaced & Conditioned. except the Inhabitant. ourselves. with the Timed. subjective & objective. After stating. the eternal Existence-Consciousness. the same That is the far. unable to rise beyond the unity of attainable . the Sage proceeds with a consideration of the latter only with which our vyavahara or practical life has to deal & emphasises the unity of all things near & far. that which we have & that which we seem not to have. We have the fundamental justification of works briefly indicated in the identity of the working principle with the eternal Reality behind our works. inconstant & fleeting.” That is within every creature as all the continent of body & mind & what is more than mind. we have the practical relation of God in Impersonality or Personality as the Inhabitant of His own objective being.

The Pluralism which makes God merely a sum of realised experiences. The Sage has laid down his fundamental positions in the first three verses. To our highest conception He is One. To us the world is only a minor term in God’s absolute & limitless existence. (3) the necessity of action for the fulfilment of the one purpose for which the One inhabits this multitude of names & forms. He is sarvam Brahma. In this second movement the object is to establish the possibility of absolutely sorrowless & fearless enjoyment here in this world & in this body on the eternal & unassailable foundations of the Vedantic truth. for He is not limited by numbers. but in Himself He is beyond conception. — the enjoyment of this phenomenal & in its consummation the liberated being. X sometimes equal to a + b and sometimes equal to a . not the utter & unknowable reality. — verses of a still higher importance for the purpose of the Upanishad. is not Vedanta. it is His supreme manifestation of being. so as to remove any essential opposition between the world movement & the Inhabitant of the movement. . He is beyond finity & infinity.398 Isha Upanishad: Part Two data or manifest appearance. sarvam khalu idam Brahma.b. (2) the harmony of renunciation & enjoyment by freedom from desire & demand. — (1) the oneness of all beings in the universe. a fluctuating unknown quantity. These things are He. the All. Unity is His parabhava. makes God conterminous with the world. Neither Unity nor multiplicity can describe Him. but it is after all a manifestation. IV The object of these two verses which have amplified the idea of monistic Unity in the universe. though finity & infinity both are He. God is not even infinite. The remainder of the Upanishad is explanatory & justificatory of these original & fundamental positions. is not our conception of the Universe. is to lead up to the two verses that follow. but he is inexpressibly more than the sarvam. but He is not these things. For from that truth the Seer’s golden rule of life derives all its validity & practical effectiveness. a growing & diminishing.

The worship of a Personal God different from ourselves & . dreamless Atman. includes death. these discords. the world will vanish from you as a dream vanishes & with the world its pain. take refuge in the pure. the movement no less than the moving.The Life Divine [Draft A] 399 These are the words. but how can we be free from pain & sorrow? It is here that Mayavada comes in with its great gospel of liberation. disintegration. Sanscrit always imply entire opposition. but it is not the escape which the Seer of the Upanishad meditates for us. are themselves all one existence but how does that help us if in the movement itself there are these inequalities. fear. in whom all existences have become the self. how shall he have grief. that want of harmony which is the cause of pain. need not of itself bring peace & a joyous activity. He who knows. has also established reaction. how shall he be deluded. He holds to his point. recoil. mutual fear & oppression. Renounce life. the movement is a cosmic nightmare affecting the mind only. weariness. these incapacities which impose on us so much that is painful & sorrowful? We may be calm. Not by denial of fundamental Vedantic truth is mankind intended to be saved. The new circumstance introduced in this verse is the idea of the Atman. words of a rich & moving beauty. He has established that inequality between the force acting & the force acted upon. who seeth all things as one. “But he who sees all existences in the self and the self in all existences. in which he discharges this part of his argument.” That is an escape. it suggests a new circumstance or suggests an additional fact or a different point of view. stoical. it does not exist in the pure Atman. “All this is Brahman. “All this discord” it says in effect “is not Brahman. for the all includes sorrow. mind will dissolve. unconditioned. it is an illusion. it is Maya. its useless striving. a dream. thereafter shrinketh not at all. its ineffugable sorrow. That is the unmoving.” A few may escape by the wicket gates of the Buddhist & the Mayavadin. We may recognise that all these are one coordinated movement in a single existence. disgust. resigned. The knowledge that the impersonal Brahman is all. its miserable joys.” The connecting word t (the Greek de) does not in Vedic . Matariswan in establishing action.

They bear the cross here in the conviction that the aureole awaits them hereafter. but what he is aware of is the Self watching the movement of the Self through the Self — air & bird & flight & watcher are only name & form. may bring loss of the Divine presence. the stung is Brahman. separation from the Beloved & then there is a greater agony. his own pain. The active man has the impulse to work. But it does not by itself give a secure abiding place. the sting is Brahman. In this maelstrom it is only those whose hearts are mightier than their intellects & their devotion a part of their nature who can overcome all the winds that blow upon them. He is stung by the scorpion but what he is aware of is only the touch of the Self on the Self. be it joy or sorrow. but only by a peculiar & rare temperament aided by God’s special grace & favour. “God’s will. not from God. God’s will may bring doubt & then there is anguish. but at every step is faced with the difficulties of religion & ethics. He watches the bird flying through the air.400 Isha Upanishad: Part Two the world brings with it a better chance of joyful activity in the world. doing verily our works here in the ordinary life of mankind? The thing can be done on the devotional foundation. Therefore most devotees withdraw from life or from the greater part of life like the Mayavadin. inflict anguish. And this he not only . the pain is Brahman. Sin enters his heart. But where then is that perfect bliss & that perfect activity which the Sage promises us. or there are ensnaring spirits of doubt which suggest sin where sin is not. only the Self. presentations of the one Reality to itself in itself by itself atmani atmanam atmana. inflict pain. The intellectual man has the intellect God has given him to satisfy. God’s will. We need a wider pedestal. His body suffers. the scorpion that stings is Brahman.” This is a great mantra & has mighty effects. those who remain have more resignation than happiness. He finds that foundation who sees wheresoever he looks (that is the force of anu in anupashyati) only the Atman. a securer foundation. pain distracts. be it the triumph of good or the siege of the evil. he feels that he is acting from passion. He has to slay as a soldier. condemn as a judge. choose between two courses which seem both to be evil in their nature or their results. the pain of others.

God has His lila. — for this & not renunciation of phenomenal existence is the true Vedantic moksha. thinker & thought. seems or is experienced. object. in action & in resting from action. this is the result which is predicated of such a divine realisation. sufferer. There arises in the soul not merely calm. in Ishwara & in apparent anIshwara.The Life Divine [Draft A] 401 thinks as a metaphysical truth. Brahman. Atman. — but knows it. That existence. Thus to the soul perfected in this knowledge everything that is. becomes only one reality. Paratparam Brahma. feels it & is aware of it utterly with his whole single & complex knowing existence. Mukti is fulfilled. for mere metaphysical opinion or intellectual attitude never yet brought salvation to living man. field. but with the perfect knowledge comes a perfect bliss in the conditioned & the unconditioned. doubt & darkness disappear in an assured & brilliant luminosity. desirelessness. heart & brain are at one in that experience. Ishwara — these are the three great names. absolute & relative no longer apply & knowledge itself disappears in an unconceivable & unimaginable Identity) — is unknowable by any. in what men call joy & what men call pain. Grief falls away from the soul. two of which are indicated in these slokas. Body. the subject is of sufficient practical importance to be dwelt upon for a little even in this necessarily rapid examination. God and all this variety is only play. and although the indication is only a minor & incidental movement of the Rishi’s thought. how shall he be deluded who seeth all things as one?” There are certain stages in the realisation. in God’s nearness & in God’s remoteness. the soul is perfectly liberated here & in this body ihaiva. Self. Brahman. “Whence shall he have grief. the Self rejoices in its own inner experiences of itself seen & objectivised. result. in the transcendent & in the phenomenal. action. That moves. resignation. pain becomes rapture. senses. in its absolute truth (if such an expression is admissible where the ideas of truth & falsehood. the three grand realisations we have here about the Absolute Existence. This is what is meant by all existing things becoming the Self in a man. doer. even the highest faculty of conscious . heart’s joy in God’s presence. only movement of conscious-self in conscious-self.

How can we know what It is? We can only say that here It translates itself into an utter purity. of Bliss & forgetfulness of Bliss. for the features we perceive here are those of a movement in which all opposites present themselves as equally true. To describe It by negative epithets is as illegitimate & presumptuous as to describe it by positive epithets. the goal of the Madhyamika Buddhists. a word which originally meant true Being or true . we cannot say of the Paratparam that it is shuddha. pure. the goal of the Adwaitins. Neti. without feature. & then we perceive that it is none of these things. It presents itself to us here as some ultimate shadow of itself which we feel sometimes as Sat.402 Isha Upanishad: Part Two mind. We perceive. We call it the Brahman. the Asad Atman of the Upanishads. neti. that which extends itself here in space & time & fills its extension. we perceive a state of Universal Non-Being. Arriving at the farthest limits of our existence here we may become & do become aware of it as a thing beyond our experience. Then we perceive that both of these are the same thing differently experienced in the soul. a state of Universal Being. not this not that. We can say of Brahman that it is shuddha. of Sacchidananda conditioned & Sacchidananda unconditioned. We must not go beyond this formula or seek to explain & amplify it. Neither can we say of It that it is alakshanam. for example. Sunyam. We feel our identity with it & we realise that it is our true Self & the true Self of everything in the universe & of the universe both in its sum & in its entirety. the Sad Atman of the Upanishads. sometimes as Asat. But here in this manifest universal existence we do perceive certain universal states & certain still more fundamental realisations which transcend all phenomena & all oppositions & antinomies. of Consciousness & forgetfulness of Consciousness. sometimes as both Sat & Asat. but something beyond both existence & non-existence which are merely uncertain symbols of it & we end by the formula of the Rishis renouncing all vain attempts at knowledge. How do we know what It is not? We can only say that we cannot describe It by any lakshanas. It is That which expresses itself in our experience of Being & forgetfulness of Being. We call it then the Atman.

without realising Him as the Brahman we run. delight in Vidya. our Self. another peril. the Higher than the Highest. the Paratpara Purusha. We fall into these ideas of an extra-Cosmic God which satisfy the early & immature stages of soul development. — how tremendous only those can know who have made the test without flinching — are only symbols. as one with ourself. Through these symbols & the realisations which they try to represent. — I will not say shadows. the peril of the Asura who misapplies the mighty formula So Aham & identifies God with his own unregenerated ignorant Ego. Ishwara. That is a great practical realisation with immense results to the soul. self-aware as Sat & self-aware as Asat. Tat twam asi. tremendous as is their power. but it is not the supreme goal which we are seeking. We become aware of It as extending itself & filling its extension here for a purpose. we find a difficulty in identifying Him with all that Is. unless our souls have first become purified. — extending the Inhabitant only to some transient circumstances of the movement in which He dwells. as the Atman. the purpose of Ananda. in a way. God. does not become one self with all existences. & the Rishi gives all three of them to us in this Upanishad. — self-aware as the One & self-aware as the Many. the realisation of the Bhakta who rests in some kind of Dualism. forgets that the very idea of his egoistic self is inconsistent . or we see a God who pervades & upholds all existences but has put them forth in His being as eternally apart from Himself.The Life Divine [Draft A] 403 Substance. necessary. we have to work out our divine fulfilment here. the mighty Inhabitant. for that is a word which may be misunderstood. The greatest names. Until we realise Ishwara. This great self-aware transcendent more than universal existence we call Sa. he does not realise others as Narayan. delight in Avidya & governing all things towards that purpose. If we realise the Ishwara as the Atman. “He”. But very great & blissful symbols in which we are meant to find a perfect content & satisfaction. He forgets the other equally important formula. For all three are supremely helpful &. We see therefore that these three names merely try to express in human language certain fundamental conceptions we have here of That which is not perfectly expressible.

but how can He be that filth? The seeker can eventually realise God in the criminal who is to be hanged no less than in the executioner who hangs him & the saint who has pity for both. rising & breaking there & leaving their marks in the sands of his mental. there is a difficulty in realising all things as God & self. infra-mental & supramental being. good — but the name & form? We can realise that God dwells in the stone as well as under the stone & around it.404 Isha Upanishad: Part Two with the true Adwaita and to extend that in imagination & call it the whole Universe is a caricature of Adwaita. . — for this reason the Rishi has fixed on the relation of world of Movement & world’s Inhabitant as the basis of his system. in the harlot no less than the Sati. this clot of filth? With difficulty the mind unreleased from dwandwa & sanskaras can believe that God logically must be in the piece of filth He has created. but only one sea of mind with its self-formed solid bed of sanskaras. which attaining the soul shrinks not at all. the corporeality of the filth. but the crime of the criminal. forgetting that it exists equally in other individual minds & not knowing that in reality there is no individual Mind. the lover of beauty. must not that be kept separate? The sattwic mere lover of virtue. that rusty piece of iron. — but the distinction must be one of vyavahara only. We must not yield to the limitations of the sattwic mind. The Inhabitant is the Atman. — not only between the criminal & his crime. For if we yield. but between the saint & his virtue. in all of the filth no less than in the glorious star that shines in Heaven & the petals of the rose or jasmine that intoxicates our soul with its fragrance. Even if we realise all beings as Narayan and one Self. the sin of the harlot. the devotee reverently bowing before the throne. but how can the stone be God. It is like the error of the unphilosophical Idealist who concludes that the objective Universe exists only in his individual Mind. the moha or delusions of the sattwic ahankara. — this clod. must they not revolt eternally from such conceptions? We shall see that for certain practical reasons we must in action preserve a kind of separateness. waves of which are constantly flowing through him. we cannot proceed to that greater goal of bliss. for practice only & must not interfere with our conception of All as Brahman.

to feel always in every fibre of our existence that this Self is Brahman & the Lord. with the Sarva Brahman. that which extends itself here equally in all things. Tad etat satyam (That yonder is this here & the Truth). — the mingled strain of our subjective-objective existence here being the result of the interaction & mutual enjoyment of His Male & His Female principle. Looking on Brahman moving & Brahman unmoving we have to say with the Mundaka Upanishad. then not only the objective world. but the mind & its perceptions seem to be a dream. Illusionists & Mayavadins. nor can anyone fathom the depths of our mental being without passing through this experience. “Purusha evedam sarvam karma tapo brahma paramritam. even all action and all active force and Brahman & the supreme immortality. but expressing itself here subjectively because of the Purusha & objectively because of the Prakriti. tend to realise it as pure subjective existence & are in danger of not realising the real & ultimate Sat which is pure Existence itself beyond subjectivity & objectivity. but as Brahman. in the holy & great but also in that which we look on as base & impure. in the beautiful but also in the ugly. Therefore we must realise the Ishwara not only as the true Self of things. but we have also to remember always in all our being. & looking on Ishwara & Brahman moving & unmoving we have to say with the same Upanishad.” We have to realise the Self everywhere. If we halt in subjective mind. Hence arise the misconceptions of the Idealists. When this subjective .” “It is the divine Soul that is all this. approaching it necessarily through our subjective being. In the realisation of Atman by itself there is this danger that as we human beings stand in the subjective mind. Even when we go beyond to the Sad Atman or Pure Existence. is not touched by any grief. we see the objective world as a mere dream or vision of our conscious subjective activity. & the only truth is the subjective Nirguna Brahman aware only of his pure subjective existence. That is the dogma of the Idealist. If we halt in our pure subjective existence. we.The Life Divine [Draft A] 405 has no delusion. that represents itself to us as our true Self and we are first in danger of identifying our subjective consciousness which is only one movement of Chit.

Then comes the Buddhist. “we need only to know that it releases from all pain & grief & death & all return of egoism.” This experience too. capable of manifesting everything. Sarvam hyetad Brahma — Ayam Atma Brahma — So’yam atma .” And without going farther. if we realise that the absolute Brahman. We must say with the Mandukya. capable of putting forth all antinomies. I have no other evidence of the existence of Atman than I have of the existence of the world without. this subjective Atman & says “Thou too art only a dream. extends itself in space & informs its own extension. capable therefore both of cosmos & chaos. capable of universality. which is expressed in the formula OM Tat Sat. turned both towards the world & away from it. who is rather beyond both Guna & absence of Guna than Nirguna. capable of nullity.406 Isha Upanishad: Part Two Nirguna Brahman looks out from the truth of himself & watches the perceptions of the mind. the universal Non-being”. tells me the world is. the great dream of the objective. That which is beyond is Parabrahman & that which represents Him here as the basis of our existence is the absolute existence. is also that which expresses itself as Guna. the Nihil. Is it enough then to realise the Atman as the Brahman? Yes. neither subjective. of a rich fruitfulness to the soul. we need not ask” — so as to say “we cannot know”. nor objective. self-conscious pure Atman. capable of reconciling them. But we come back to the truth. He can hardly gaze out of the manifest towards Parabrahman who has never stood face to face with the Asat & launched his soul into the fathomless & shoreless Negation. But this is no other than the Brahman. who turns upon this sakshi. as both are equally dreams. capable of manifesting nothing. then It alone as the sakshi seems to be real — but we get rid of the sakshi too & retire into the perfect samadhi in which Brahman is aware only of Itself as self-existent. for the same thing that tells me thou art. if one can have it & not be bound by it. or he says with the Buddha — “There is Nirvana of all this subjective & objective. he says with the Madhyamikas “The truth is the Asat. is of great use. This is the dogma of the Mayavadin & no one can fathom all the depths of our subjective being who has not passed through this experience. what there is beyond.

an inert calm. The movement of withdrawal is necessary for a certain number of souls. it is. For if we do not realise Brahman as the Self & our Self we shall be in danger of losing the subjective aspect of existence & laying too much stress on That as the substratum of our objective existence in which I stand merely as a single unimportant movement. the one Self within all existences who shapes Himself to form & form & is outside all of them. so effected. the Paratpara Purusha is a strong tendency of the present-day Adwaita. Fourfold. or at most a . but also He who sees Himself the gross & sees Himself the subtle & sees His own single & blissful being in the states to which we have only access now in the deep trance of sushupti. & this Self which is Brahman is fourfold. Atma va idam eka evagra asit — Sa ikshata — Sa iman lokan asrijata. He alone. He looked & put forth these worlds. & understand the intention of the Aitareya in its great opening. not only the Transcendent Turiya. towards remoteness. The denial of the Transcendent Personality. “is a myth. Otherwise we shall not be so much both spectators & masters of our worlds. but it is not the purpose for which God is in us here. this Self is Brahman. Nor is this enough. All this world is Brahman. a tendency to merge in the jada Prakriti. the apparent unintelligently active aspect of things which the Europeans call Nature or at the highest a resolution of our selves into that substratum of the objective in the Impersonal Brahman. but its spectators only — & a mere spectator tarries not long at a spectacle.The Life Divine [Draft A] 407 chatushpat. For the realisation goes still too much towards abstraction. it is not even enough for the Sage’s purpose that we should realise the Brahman except as the Atman & Ishwara. blissful & supremely satisfied movement. “God”. that He has created & entered into His own movement. We must be one with the Ekah sarvabhutantaratma rupam rupam pratirupo bahishcha. The result is a tamasic. In the beginning this was all the Atman. he is soon sated of his inactive joy & withdraws. say these modern Adwaitins. It is necessary to remember that this great Self-Aware Being is the Lord. a great. with a mighty purpose & for the enjoyment of His own phenomenal being in the worlds. We must realise our true Self as Brahman-Ishwara. Finally.

there lies a philosophical blunder. Ishwara. our realisations. it is Krishna son of Devaki who takes us most surely & entirely into the presence & into the being of the Eternal. Just as there is no I. Atman. a blissful unlimited self-conscious Awareness in self-existence is the Paratpara Purusha — adityavarnas tamasah parastat. most of all. any more than existence is necessarily individual existence or a selection & arrangement of movements in our being. drawing us like a sun beyond the darkness of ignorance & the darkness of the Asat. but also God transcendent — the Lilamaya Krishna who transcends His lila. The Rishi of the Isha wishes us to realise all three. but on Ishwara neither extracosmic nor different from His creatures but rather in & about all beings as their indwelling Self. Neither Buddha nor Jada Bharata are the true guides & fulfillers of our destiny. their containing Brahman and that material Brahman also or Prakriti which is the formal continent of the indwelling Self and the . Master. but for the sake of divine life in the world to dwell upon Ishwara. selfexistent. Personality can be & is Universal. Personality is not necessarily individual Personality. but on the sole Existent. on this triune aspect here of the Transcendent depend all our spiritual realisations and as we take one or the other & in its realisation stop a little this side or proceed a little to that side. followers of Ramanuja or Madhwa. beyond individuality & Universality. Personality also can be & is Transcendent. This is He — God universal. neither is it a selection & arrangement of qualities. — this transcendent Personality. followers of Christ. this Universal Personality is God in relation to our individual experiences. it is Yajnavalkya. by meditating on whom we shall attain to perfect liberation. Brahman. of Mahomed. & we shall be Buddhists or Adwaitins or Mayavadins or Dualists. Therefore the Upanishads everywhere insist not upon mere Existence. our experiences & our creeds & systems will vary from each other. enjoyer of the worlds.” Under this figure of thought. it is Janaka &. like the later Adwaitin.408 Isha Upanishad: Part Two dream like ourselves. and they speak continually on the Brahman as the creator. so there is no God. of whosoever will give us such light on the Eternal as we are ready to receive.

He is ether that contains all & He is that which contains the ether. All existences — not only animate but inanimate. as the French say better. the metal. gives us for the present only two of the final realisations which are the most essential for his purpose. He is samam . it is not allowed us by the pure Adwaita of the Upanishads. the diamond. in this realisation three terms. to indicate & illumine. But. The wind & sea also are He & the gases which constitute the air which moves as wind & the water which flows as the sea. & not only in these bhutas which if they have not an organised life. Self without. We shall find. Self within. We have. plant & flower & not only in the tree. however useful & true this distinction may be for certain practical purposes. not to educate or instruct. between the animate which has conscious life in it. however. & all existences. a seizing distinction between the locomotive & the worm that it crushes. the animal. but the Rishi. many necessary first steps & later approximations. however powerful. makes a striking or. (which is ourself also) in all existences and all existences in the Self. have at least an organised or a manifest form. however weak. but in the mountain. the insect. of which each separate existence is fundamentally the same. his work being to throw out brief fundamental & important suggestions only & not to fill in details. but in the engine that crushes it — the engine too & the power of the engine are Brahman and as much Brahman as the life & consciousness in the worm. which are the same & invariable samam Brahma. therefore. In this realisation there are many stages of progress. certain vyavahara. plant & flower which have a sort of life. a blind & undeveloping power. for sarvabhuteshu does not mean sarvapranishu — not only the man. God is not only in the worm that is crushed. but in the tree. Swami Vivekananda in a passage of his works. but in generic or individual play & movement different from other genera & individuals. but in those which have no organised form. & the inanimate which has only in it. the pebble which seem not to have life. that there is more beyond.The Life Divine [Draft A] 409 formal content of the containing Brahman. We are first to realise this one divine Self. or no form at all to the eye or to any sense.

we create bheda & lose our full spiritual heritage. All. it is Brahman who has committed it. He fills with His favouring breath the sails of the sailing-ship that carries our merchandise to its market. each one of us is as responsible as the sinner. as it will not spare us the most loathsome worm that crawls but insists that that too is Brahman. it is He that has flung it in our face. our own doing though we do it in another body. from the noblest to the meanest & everywhere finds only Brahman. is of His striking. Brahman is the striker. That crime which we abhor. For the Vedanta is inexorable in its positiveness. Brahman the stricken. if we would attain. not increase our power to rectify or to help. He breathes out sweetness upon us in the rose. The insult that is cast on us. The disgrace. the Self. We must have dhairyam. but insists that that too is Brahman. Bhuteshu bhuteshu vichitya dhirah. condemns nothing but loves all and helps all. Brahman the instrument. he is sarvabhutahite ratah. Our self-righteousness is a Pharisaical error. the freed & illuminated soul hates none. The seer anupashyati — he follows Prakriti in her movement from the greatest to the most infinitesimal. God. our hatred of the sinner & our contempt & loathing convict us of ignorance and limit. utter understanding. The wrong that is done to us. utter patience. — it is our Self’s. the defeat. We have a right to make certain practical distinctions for vyavahara but none to make any essential difference. The blow that is struck. much less of our mere nervous & sensational parts or of the conventional mind with its fixed associations can we stop to listen. If we stop short anywhere. the injustice are of His doing.410 Isha Upanishad: Part Two Brahma. He touches our cheeks with coolness in the Wind. it is He that does it — and to whom is it done? To Himself. says the Kena. his occupation . For the least sin that is committed in the world. The seer. joy & grief must not interfere to warp our knowledge. all without exception is He. To no weakness. He tramples down into the Ocean depths the latest marvel & monstrosity of scientific construction in which travel the great ones of the world or in which our beloved are coming to our arms. all. Love & hate. so also it will not spare us the most inert or sordid speck of matter. no repugnance. no recoil even of the saint in us or the artist & poet in us.

for in all we shall see Narayan. we shall know the Lord. The touch of the outcaste will be the same to us as the sprinkling of holy water by the Brahmin — for how shall God pollute God? Every human or living body will be to us a temple & dwelling place of the most High. we shall be no respecters of persons. a wide & tolerant love. Raga & dwesha being the motives of all our ordinary feeling & action. An universal charity. we shall recognise ourself. fear. None shall be to us vile or contemptible. despise or shrink from anything whatsoever which the world can present us. the saint & the sinner. disease will not conceal from us the god within nor wrath & cruelty from us God’s love working by strange ways under grotesque & fearful masks. helping the Self in all. however powerful or inimical. nor shall we fear anyone. One equal regard will fall from us on the tiger & the lamb. neither shall we have wrath or scorn against the palace & partiality for the cottage. fear. — the desire to protect ourselves against or ward off the unwelcome thing that presents itself to the mind. Squalor. a calm & blissful impulse of beneficence to all will be the ethical first fruits of our realisation. loving the Self in all. We shall not hate. nerves or senses. We shall not despise the hut of the peasant nor bow down in the courts of the princes. loathing in the nerves. hatred or disgust for any person. jugupsa expresses that movement of recoil in the system which proceeds from dwesha of any kind.The Life Divine [Draft A] 411 & delight are to do good to all creatures. And yet . We shall not have any contempt. loathe. That is the ethics & morality of the Vedanta. Jugupsa is not merely fear but includes all kinds of shrinking. No sort of foulness or ugliness will repel us. hatred in the heart. if this is possible. how all that constitutes real misery will fall from the soul & leave it pure & blissful. enjoying the Self in all. It is evident. We see therefore how wide a field the promise of the Upanishad covers. All these things will be equal to us. shrinking of dislike or reluctance from thing or person or action. For what is the first result of this universal vision? Tato na vijugupsate. We shall make no distinctions. sin. the tyrant who threatens us and the slave who is subject to our lightest caprice. He is the Self seeing the Self in all. contempt. disgust.

although it lifts us beyond the ordinary conceptions of morality & conventional ethics. illshapen & ugly will also be to us beautiful. for the Lover is not different from the Beloved. jagat not sthanu. This realisation. ecstatic beauty to us. — we shall have gone beyond the poet & the artist.412 Isha Upanishad: Part Two none shall be too sacred for us. more marvellous. We shall exceed the limitations of the senses & the ordinary aesthetic faculties. We shall exceed the limitations of the mind & heart & conscience. For enmity is a play of the Lord & death & life make up one of His games of hide & seek. the real fulfilment of love & good. but no fettering attachment. For we shall have torn aside the grotesque & unreal mask of hatred & seen in the apparent fulfilment of enmity & evil. for it is the house of our Friend & Playmate. more universal beauty than the artistic. & while knowing that it has to be put aside or transformed into good. And because we shall have found out His way & seen everywhere Himself. By the divination of the heart & the vision of the higher knowledge we shall have found out the way of the Lord in His movement. as . too dear or too inviolable. does not incapacitate us for normal action. For we shall no more be repelled by the sin of the sinner than by the dirt on our child who has fallen or wallowed in the mud of the roadside. things also will cause no kind of shrinking in us. but things foul. The sword of our enemy will have no terrors for us. How shall God slay God? Even as our vision deepens. for which therefore we shall have deep love. & it is a house. poignant & fierce. a thing that can be changed & has to be changed. we shall not be revolted by it. the other soft & wooing but the manner is the only difference. with a larger. it is our own House. we shall have gone beyond the saint & the moralist. intense. We shall know why the sages have called Him sarvasundara. We shall know why the Lord has put on the mask of the sinner & the perfect purpose that is served by sin & crime in the world’s economy. the touch of the sword shall be to us as much the kiss of His Love as the touch from the lips of a lover — one sharp. the All-Beautiful. For things beautiful will have a more wonderful. nay. but rather view it with perfect calm & charity.

The Life Divine [Draft A] 413 it might seem to the thought which holds all action impossible except that which proceeds from desire & liking & disliking. It is as necessary for the ordinary practice of the world as a standard value of coin for the ordinary commerce of a country. At the same time it is true that the jivanmukta is not governed by ordinary moral considerations. He has no wish to kill. the social ideas & environments. for there must be a fixed standard to which they can appeal. uncertainty & disorder into finance & commerce. the religious creed or the actual circumstances. He shrinks from no actions which the divine purpose demands or the divine impulse commands. Therefore the liberated man though he knows the truth will not contravene the . For an ethics proceeding in its practical action on contempt. because its method & its spirit are ignorant & paradoxical. dislike or repulsion is an immoral or imperfectly moralised ethics which seeks to drive out poison by poison & it has always failed & will always fail to eradicate sin & evil. for he is bound neither by the rajasic ahankara nor by the sattwic. but he will not shrink from slaying when it is demanded. Only perfect knowledge & sympathy can give perfect help and these are impossible without oneness. To men who are not free a conventional morality is an absolute necessity. the pound is not perhaps really worth 15 Rs but fluctuates owing to circumstances. — just as the ordinary methods of society have failed to eradicate or even diminish crime & vice. For this morality or dharma is of the soul & does not depend upon the action which is a mere outward symbol of the soul & has different values according to the times. Whatever morality the Vedantist practises will be based on a higher & truer ground than the ethics of the ordinary man in love. The coin has not really an immutable value. sattwic obstacles to slaying are therefore taken from him and his knowledge delivers him both from the desire to take life which is the evil of hinsa [and] from the emotional horror of taking life & the nervous fear of taking life which are the rajasic & tamasic basis of outward ahinsa. sympathy & oneness. So also with other actions. nevertheless to allow a fluctuating value is to bring a certain amount of confusion.

towards an equal & perfect enjoyment. It raises us towards a perfect calm. are some of the practical fruits of the realisation of God as the Self in all existences & the Brahman containing all existences. if it is the part given to him. They are part of the jagat. peace & joy. our charity a . a perfect courage. Such. watching everywhere the play of the Self. Neither will events bring to him grief or disappointment. And not only perfect. of the Self’s action on the Self. but acceptance of it as a circumstance in the struggle towards a divine fulfilment. He has divined God’s movement. of the soul & is not an activity in the jagat. then. He will no more quarrel with them than with the cold of winter or the breath of the stormblast. for the calm is within us. Then. For his one care & purpose will be to observe the divine purpose & carry out the divine will. Our resignation is of the soul & does not mean acquiescence in defeat. but free. mana & apamana. in the inner world & the outer. since he knows that both are equally necessary for the fulfilment of the divine intention. He acquires a perfect titiksha or power to bear. respect & insult. obloquy & reproach cannot move him. fear or disgust with things. in the movement. our peace & joy do not prevent us from understanding & sympathising with the trouble & grief of others. Our calm does not stay us from even the most colossal activity. he moves towards more than titiksha. a perfect love. We are not bound by these things we acquire. he will act as fearlessly against social rules as under ordinary circumstances he will adhere firmly to the law of the environment in which he dwells. because both come from himself to himself & not from another. Disgrace & dishonour. charity & beneficence. our love does not prevent an outward necessary sternness. resignation. Success & failure are equal to him. He is equal in soul to honour & dishonour. a divine equality to all men & things & equanimity towards all events & actions. because he follows that divine will & purpose in himself & in others. boldness & effectiveness of action.414 Isha Upanishad: Part Two fixed rules of society unless he is impelled by divine command or unless the divine purpose is moving towards a change in the fixed morality. part of God’s play.

as not entirely the Self — as movement & play of God. we go farther & exceed it. As the result of that attitude we have jugupsa. Subtle as the distinction may seem. as action of the Lord. somewhere. but knows when flight & concealment are necessary. nor our activity forbid us to rest & be passive. Our courage does not bind itself by the ostentations of the fighter. but not itself God. our boldness does not interfere with skill & prudence. which causes us either not perfectly to attain or to slip back after we have attained. The reason is that we are still removed by one considerable step from perfect oneness. it is of first rate . the wife & mother. something that comes. the movement. Finally our equality of soul leaves room to the other instruments to deal with each thing in the vyavahara according to its various dharma & utility.The Life Divine [Draft A] 415 just appreciation of men & motives nor does our beneficence hold back the sword when it is necessary that it should strike — for sometimes to strike is the highest beneficence. the protectress & Gauri. realisation through instruments of knowledge. the law of its being & the law of its purpose. of the self in us & the self in all other existences. But we still regard the jagat. We have realised oneness of the self within & the self without. but by what kind of realisation? By seeing. unless after we have attained to it. when action or event affects us. as those only can thoroughly realise who know that God is Rudra as well as Shiva. it is not really so fine as it appears. not of absolute identity by nature. — anupashyati. In practice we find that there is a flaw. But in practice it is difficult for these perfect results to be attained or for this perfect realisation to be maintained. Therefore when things come to us. we have to adopt an attitude towards it as something different from ourselves. These are the perfect results of the perfect realisation. but not itself all the Lord expressed to Himself in His own divine awareness. something that affects us. not through our conscious being in itself. We have realised oneness. Our realisation is a realisation of identity by attitude. it makes a wide difference. by action of the seeing faculty in the buddhi or the feeling faculty in the heart — for both these things are vision. Chamunda Kali with the necklace of skulls no less than Durga.

the least discontinuity or defect of that knowledge means a defect of or a falling from our divine fullness. Only if identity with all existences has become our whole nature & being of our being. the least failure or deficiency in that attitude means a waning of the divine state or a defect in its fullness. whence shall he have pain who sees in all things oneness. we may err by taking it as a justification of that Adwaita which denies the sarvabhutani and affirms only the Atma. is preserved which tends to prevent this absolute identity of being & preserve the necessity of attitude & the identity only through the instruments of knowledge. — an extension of meaning which is justified by nothing. so absolute is the law of this Adwaita that if even the name & form & the play & the movement are regarded as Brahman’s & not themselves as Brahman. No such broken & truncated realisation is intended. “blotted themselves out in”. For so long as our divine state depends on our attitude. “He in whom Self & all existences have become one and perfectly he knoweth. Therefore in his next verse the Rishi gives us a higher & completer realisation which includes the missing elements & perfects the Adwaita. it is a dream. And so complete & exacting is the oneness of Brahman. . how shall he be deluded. Adwaita of the Isha demands that looking out on the world & its creatures we shall say “This is Brahman. either in the language or in the context. is the divine state perfected. we shall say “This is not Brahman. but to suppose that “become” means “disappeared into”. difference & dissonance.416 Isha Upanishad: Part Two importance in its results. So long as it rests on a continued act of knowledge in mind & heart. The Mayavada demands that every time we look out on the world & its creatures. an element of bheda. while the exclusion of the world & its existences can only be effected in the state of sleep or trance and would be broken every time the mind returned to the state of waking. In that case we shall have not only to translate “All existences have become Self”.” If we read this verse loosely. a lie”. is its permanent and unbroken enjoyment assured. It is contradicted by the immediately following passage in which the Seer insists on the necessity of the simultaneous view of Vidya & Avidya.

The word bhuta means that which has become as opposed to that which eternally is & it includes therefore name & form & play of mind & play of action.The Life Divine [Draft A] 417 it is God. that which he feels to be his true I has become all creatures. the language of the sloka is such as not to admit of the negation sought by the Mayavadin. ahankara. not only the Lord.” There is a wide difference between the two attitudes. but it is the seen. there what delusion. it is myself. but now I give the literal translation. but his habitation. all being Satyam. — he is each bhuta. but to contradict it. what grief. Yasmin. I have not translated the verse literally yet. In fact. not the bhutas. The last barrier is broken. just . not yasya. eternal Truth. The words are sarvani bhutani atmaivabhud — not sarvabhutani atmaivabhuvan — a singular verb demanding a singular subject. but Truth seen & recurrent presenting itself to Truth seeing & persistent — the sthanu & the jagat. Apart from this divergence. The soul has become one with all existence. In him his Self has become all creatures. in whom. Therefore it is the Self that becomes. all existence it feels to be itself containing the creation & exceeding it. Not only does he feel himself or perceive himself to be in all creatures as the divine presence in them & around them. the other rests a practical Adwaita on an apparent Dwaita.” It is evident that the Mayavadin’s position vanishes. The one rests a metaphysical & argumentative Adwaita on a tremendous essential Dwaita of Satya & Asatya. — therefore yasmin. of him seeing wherever he looks (anu) oneness. “In whom the Self (of him) verily knowing by vijnana has become all creatures. but he is they. In him his Self. It is not only the seer in all. an apparent difference of appearance to knowledge. the sense of separate self. not an actual difference of essential reality & unreality. ajna. that which is true & that which is false. utterly disappears & the soul is all that it sees or is in any way aware of. Let us understand thoroughly the sense of this important sloka. not only Ish but jagat. has that knowledge which in the Upanishads is called vijnana & who has attained to the vision of oneness. for it is the Self of one who knows entirely. and we cannot say that this is the attitude of a man still ignorant.

bhutani. I am in fear”? And if the heart realises. but that this idea of within & without is merely a way of looking. then it is not the realisation which this shloka contemplates. but as an unity like one ether undivided in many vessels. jagat. realisation is not complete & its moral effects cannot be securely held. it is the near & the far. they & he are all merely becomings of himself. His self has become all existences. For he now feels that these things in which & outside which he seems to be are himself. & at the same time he feels that they are not in him nor he in them. This is the first important difference between the preceding realisation of knowledge & this fuller realisation of being. he ceases to feel himself as within his body & feels rather his body as within himself & not only his but all bodies. he feels himself at the same time in his body & in all bodies not separately like a piece of water in a jar. the moving & the unmoving. feeling one with the grief of others. how shall we not. as Brahman itself becomes all things & all creatures in itself. so is it now with the soul that sees. But if this realisation is only by the heart through love or only by the purified reason through intellectual perception. fail to be crushed by them & overborne? The .” Pashya me yogam aishwaram. the body cries “Something has struck me. his becomings in the motion of awareness. I am hurt” or the heart says “Someone has injured me. just as all creatures are only Brahman’s becomings. it is within all things & outside all things. For so long as we have not become that which we are realising. bhutani. It moves & it moves not. The man thus liberated undergoes a tremendous change of consciousness. but the reason & other instruments fail. a way of expressing to the mind a truth in itself beyond expression by space & time — just as we say “I have this in my mind” when we do not really intend to express any location in space but mean rather “This is my mental knowledge as it just now expresses itself.418 Isha Upanishad: Part Two as the Lord himself. For what use is it if we merely understand that all is one when if there is a touch from outside it. God & his world. Of it too it can be said Tad ejati tannaijati. just as Brahman is the ejat and the anejat. I am in grief” or the vital spirits cry “Someone means ill to me.

heart. not depending therefore on any state such as sushupti or on any attitude. pure arrangement of its nature in that knowledge. amritatwam. our ideal self. pain & relapse. This whole system will then consent & be compelled to live in the truth — & that truth to which vijnana itself is the door. then the whole system becomes remoulded in the mould of the vijnana. punah kritam.The Life Divine [Draft A] 419 lower organs must also consent to the absolute sense of oneness or no sure and perfect result can be gained. This is the soul’s kingdom of heaven. immortality. vijanatah. But if man can rise in himself to that plane and pour down its knowledge upon the lower system. they live here in fragments of that wide & mighty truth. but above mind. is not the highest nor does it lead to the highest results. when he knows. not by ordinary knowledge. All things here will be Sacchidananda. prajnanam. because they are broken up & divide truth against truth. there is. jnanam. ritam or vratam. Man can get himself a new heart. Truth of Nature. a plane of consciousness in which the soul dwells by the power of perfect truth. its ideal state. reason. a new life. For beyond & behind this intellect. All things here are in the language of [the Vishnu Purana] vijnanavijrimbhitani. The real buddhi is not in mind at all. a new mind. that it is vijanatah. but . This is the second superiority of this high realisation as this shloka describes it. Truth of being & bliss. body. they think. How is this to be done? By the force of the vijnana. satyam. pure satisfying wideness in being of that knowledge-nature. the discriminating intellect or the pure reason. even pure reason. in a condition of pure existence of knowledge. What is this vijnana? Vedantic commentators have identified it with buddhi. Therefore the Upanishad adds “vijanatah”. but have to strive towards it with much failure. but by the ideal knowledge. nervous system. says the Veda. it is. but because of bheda. or by intellectual knowledge. even a new body. navyam ayu. a level. brihat. a sea of being out of which all these descend & here take form. But in the psychological system of the Veda intellectual vichara. attained not by intellectual discernment or feeling of the heart or concentration of the mind. they cannot enjoy Truth of knowledge. is Brahman as Sacchidananda.

& not merely relatively. feel nothing else.” Nanyat pashyati. by limitation comes the idea of not being this. but will utterly feel that nothing can come to them. indeed. not subject to any qualification. The highest heights of this realisation are. from this idea arises the desire . they are one. yet always one. That oneness is the oneness of Sacchidananda. How shall he be deluded. It is ekatwam. The practical consequence will be that body. & the essence of moha is that bewilderment. seen. one bliss. it will be bliss that is felt.420 Isha Upanishad: Part Two itself determining the attitude. neither fear. nor illusion can come. bliss that is thought — a bliss which is in its essence & inseparably existence & knowledge. nor grief. one knowledge. but to the illumined being of the Jivanmukta there is no difference. tatra. for on the level of our mental action these three are or seem to be divided & different from each other. & attained through direct ideal knowledge with the result of becoming all that is in our being. Whatever therefore is felt. bliss that is seen. not merely the mind or thought or feeling. smell nothing else. to whose eyes wheresoever they turn all things are one? For grief is born of illusion. It is Brahman. thought. but even on its lower levels there is a perfect freedom & an ineffable joy. in our very nature. Tatra ko mohah kah shoka ekatwam anupashyatah. not having that. even though presented to the intellect as a trinity. nanyach chrinoti. knowledge that is identity. Swalpam apyasya dharmasya. mind & heart will no longer admit any bahyasparsha. but one existence. bliss that is heard. To every touch there will be but one response from heart & mind & nerve alike — “This is Brahman. being that is consciousness. one being. shoka proceeds from moha. not easily attained. but only Brahman. For the intellect we have to use all three words. They will see nothing else. hear nothing else. To these levels. nothing touch them but only Brahman. — therefore not three separate qualities. both of them in their essence & reality bliss. By forgetting oneness. that stultification of the conscious mind by which we forget oneness. Of such a state it can be truly & utterly said. taste nothing else. the idea of limitation is fixed on our being. whence shall he have grief. ekatwam anupashyatah. heard.

it is matter. so the liberated soul says of body & nerve & mind. must be maintained & do not interfere with divine freedom . just as it sees everywhere only the play of matter upon matter. fear of that which gives contrary experience — the whole brood of earthly ills. if I fall into the other I shall suffer by God’s wrath & judgment. This is sweet. “Here is a touch too strong for me to bear. yet plays with God. it is not nerve. Into delight his soul is delivered. it is not body. even of itself.” But he who sees oneness sees only Sacchidananda. by the disappointment of desire comes disappointment. Ananda is the term through which he reconciles himself with the world. He is the only inhabitant. she is dying”. It is not mind. by bliss. by matter. it is pain. that life & action in this world are intended. thirdly. secondly that the golden rule of life is to enjoy all God’s movement or God in all his movement but only after the renunciation of demand & desire. I must have it. in delight he is for ever one with. In his first movement the Rishi advanced four propositions. It is not mind. His movement the only cause of the forms in which He inhabits. if I do not gain one I am lost. by delight he supports in himself the great world movement & dwells in it. in matter. This is fair. for only so can it all be enjoyed. that is foul. even if it be depriving him of his possession.” “This is virtue. in bliss. realising that the Lord & his movement alone exist. that is sin. Just as the mind that has taught itself to see only matter everywhere.The Life Divine [Draft A] 421 to be this. I am terrified”. This I have not which another has. — that the purpose of our existence is the fulfilment of God in the world. Moha shouts “Here is one I love. that is bitter. dislike of that which disappoints. only bliss that is conscious being. The second movement of the Upanishad is finished. hatred & anger against that which withholds. says even of mind & soul. it is conscious existence that is bliss and so he sees everywhere this bliss only & the play of bliss upon bliss. “Here is one who will kill me. to have that. it is Brahman. it is not soul.

as His enjoyment. It is true then that enjoyment of all things here in oneness is possible. let the method be abandoned. fourthly. on this basis he shows us that existence & bliss not only can be made one. God. Finally. all existence must necessarily become bliss & cannot be anything else. enjoyment according to His will. renounce everything to Him and enjoy the world in Him & by Him. the renunciation of desire will become possible and we shall not shrink from anything in life. In order to lay down on a firm basis his justification of these teachings. that any self-marring movement leads only to confusion & darkness here & beyond & not to our divine realisation. that renunciation of desire & selfsurrender are the way & the realisation of the Lord in all forms & movements & self-surrender to him the method. — involving also action according to His will. then what farther need of enjoyment & action? The goal is realised. but if we realise this one Brahman who is our divine Self & God (antar asya sarvasya). as His movement. both are Brahman & therefore the world also is our divine Self compassing by a certain divine power movement of action & phenomenon in its still unmoving Self & without parting with its superiority to the movement. grief & fear & dislike & delusion have no farther place in us. because we shall know that it is God & his movement. Why keep the distinction of God & the world. It is to this realisation we shall arrive by realising God as we give up desire. why act any more in . the high & complete realisation will be ours in which the very cause of desire & demand will disappear & all will be utterly the Self. But when the final realisation is accomplished. For we shall then realise that all beings are one with ourself. Sacchidananda. he shows us first that God & the world are one.422 Isha Upanishad: Part Two & bliss. Chapter V A question may arise. Brahman. when oneness is utterly attained.

if not the impersonal unconditioned Brahman. Lose yourself in Sacchidananda. it is not even desirable.The Life Divine [Draft A] 423 the world when the purpose of action is accomplished? It may still be possible. He is about to establish the foundations of action in the liberated soul. Is it not that in which the vision of oneness logically culminates? Therefore not only the golden rule of conduct has to be justified. It is this to which the Sage next proceeds. it is not necessary. The eighth verse is the introductory & fundamental verse of this movement. . to show the purpose of the One & the Many. but the teaching of a liberated activity has to be justified. — to reconcile Vidya & Avidya in God’s supreme & blissful unity.

He may manifest as Brahma & Vishnu. They would not have rejected the scientific hypothesis which sees in every object a mass & arrangement. Not only so. [2] [Written on a separate sheet of the manuscript. but all these are He. but every single force & object in it is of the same nature. Not only is the impersonal God one Brahman without a second.] The world & God. They knew of the physical movement of the universe. The essence of the world is not Space nor Time nor Circumstance which we call Causality — its essence is motion. ila.] From the choice of terms in this opening line certain intellectual consequences arise which we have to accept if we wish to understand the teaching of the Upanishad. go. the Personality of God & His unity.APPENDIX [1] [Bracketed and struck through in the manuscript. The ancient Hindus knew that the earth moves & therefore the earth also was designated in ancient times by a number of words meaning motion of which jagati itself is one — ga. he may shine out as the saint or lust in Himself as the criminal. Whatever different masks He may wear. First. it is always He. What is the world? It is jagati. There is no other person besides God in the universe. jagati. it is a jagat. See the footnote on page 378. The disguises may be utterly concealing. Surya & Agni or as the Yaksha & the Pishacha. she who is constantly moving. a sort of cosmos of anus. . See the footnote on page 378. he may dwell here as the man or dwell here as the animal. from house to house of His habitation. but the Personal God is one without a second. says the Rishi. a knot of habitual motion.

jagati. . Moreover. In this motion. ideas. Then we shall not need to covet any man’s possessions. all in their nature motion of this moving universe. In essence the kshobha or formative movement called active Prakriti. [3] [Written in the top margin of two pages of the manuscript. being divine in power ourselves we can get them whenever our supreme self wills without anyone else in the world being the poorer for our gain.” Dhanam means any kind of possession whatever. sa paryagat. Point of insertion not marked. nor the strength of elephants. jagat. For whom are we envying. our own goods.] Moreover we must realise the Lord in others as one with Him in ourselves. we can enjoy them as perfectly in another’s experience as in our own. sensations etc. nor the wealth of the merchant. forces. movement of matter. in universality it is this force ordering & arranging its objects by motion. not only material wealth — neither the glory of the king. Not when or if the mind wills. There must be no demand. nor the swiftness of eagles. But the movement here contemplated is not. See the footnote on page 380. but of divine being & conscious force of which matter is only an appearance. If we realise divine unity. sensations created by it He dwells who is its Lord.The Life Divine [Draft A] 425 atoms in constant movement with regard to [each] other. but when or if He wills. in the objects. But for the present. whose goods are we coveting? Ourselves. tad ejati & the eighth verse. forces. “Do not covet” says the Sage “the possession of any man whomsoever. the apparently motionless stone no less than the ever circling & rotating earth. in detail it is a multitude of single objects. nor the temperament of the sage. as we see in the fifth verse. the Rishi is content to envisage the world as a world of motion & multitude. no coveting.

the uttamam rahasyam with which it culminates. intellect. See the footnote on page 380. the demand to be rid of all these things & released from the fulfilment of His cosmic purpose. mind.] Practically. And that renunciation we make not by substituting another demand. We get the reason & spirit of the command to Arjuna from which all the moral teaching of the Gita starts & to which it returns. neither demanding what He does not take . complete & transcendental Self. without ahankara. For this reason the word Ish has been selected as the fundamental relation of God to ourselves & the world — the master of all our existence to whom we renounce. For that which we have to enjoy is not only Ish but jagat. enjoyment in God only. the Lord who for his purposes has made & governs the world — for in this relation of “Lord” he is inseparable from His movement. Envisaging the ruler.426 Isha Upanishad: Part Two [4] [Written separately. egoism of all that they are & seek to our real. without desire or attachment. jitva shatrun bhunkshva rajyam samriddham. point of insertion not marked. we envisage that which he rules. but in order the better to fulfil His purpose & enjoy Him utterly in His movement. It is a relation that depends on the existence & play of the world of which He is the ruler & master. since He is here as the Lord of his own movement. yajnartham. — for as we shall see both are one Brahman & by enjoying Him entirely we must come to enjoy all His movement. will. the Lord. the habitation for the sake of the inhabitant indeed. therefore. the renunciation demanded of us is the renunciation by the lower unreal & incomplete self. the command of enjoyment — but activity for God only. We get therefore in this first verse of the Upanishad the foundations of the great principle of activity with renunciation with which the teaching of the Gita begins & the still greater principle of atmasamarpana or entire surrender to God. in all experience & all action that He in us & through us is manifesting & perfecting. senses. the command of activity. mayi sannyasya. but still the habitation. vitality.

He must love with that inner laughter. slay with that laughter. it is God Himself in His pure personality. a joyous indifference to all things in the world. above it in his inward conscious selfbeing. Related thematically to Draft A of “The Life Divine”. though belonging to it. In all his acts he must have in his soul the loud laughter. there is always this double aspect of Personality & Impersonality. God Impersonal manifests Himself.. [5] [Written in a different notebook. the triune Sachchidananda of our Scriptures. beginning lost or point of insertion unknown.. He must combine with a blissful enjoyment of all things in the world. himself perish or reign. lies the justification of all that is said in the scriptures of the liberated & perfected soul. above it though in it. though in it in his outward action of Nature.] existence. He must be not un-mundane but supramundane. He who would be free in this world. multiplicity of . but manifest & always present to him. both in the universe & transcendent of the Universe. of the patched loin cloth of the beggar or the imperial crown. nor rejecting what He is here to enjoy. Unrelated Divine Existence. For he knows that the whole world is but a divine play of the eternal Child-God Srikrishna with Himself in the playground of His self-existence. the attahasyam. the Bright. entering world existence. not inhuman but superhuman. All this he cannot have unless in the roots of his conscious being he feels not concealed or subliminal. take joy or take torture with that secret & divine laughter. Unconcerned. of Kali. This Pure Existence is not only an impersonal state of divine being. infinite pure Delight. Calm. For in all the divine manifestation. variation of Consciousness. infinite pure Consciousness. save with that laughter... He manifests in it all this quality of existence.The Life Divine [Draft A] 427 for Himself in us. transcending it as infinite pure Existence. whether the enjoyment be of victory or defeat. Unbound. must be detached from it.] [.

Both affirmations are true. He is All-being. Vishnu. Neither is one greater than the other. no person or individual. for our perfection’s sake. Existence nothing but the Existent. Allah. Shiva. & Consciousness is Delight & nothing but Delight. the infinite Pure Existent. Krishna. it does not amount to a difference. Just as Sacchidananda is Triune. since when we enter into the depths of this Biune. but one. but we must not make them an excuse for breaking up the inalienable unity of God. but still neither a mere abstraction or state of Being. he affirms the Impersonal God but tends to deny the Personal. Kali. We must accept. — not anyone. transcending existence. both denials are false. The metaphysician fixes his concentration of Will in Knowledge only on the Impersonal & pursuing it through the world & beyond. the infinite Pure Conscious. Such exaggerated distinctions are the errors of partial or selective Yoga fastening on aspects & ignoring the true being of God in His self-manifestation. fixing his concentration on the Personal & pursuing it through the world & beyond. Shiva is not greater than Vishnu. These things are aspects of Himself to His own consciousness. the multitude of His aspects & even of His divine impersonations. But He is also. the Mighty One. — not three. we find only Unity. the Ruthless. the Loving. so the Personal & Impersonal God are Biune. the infinite Pure Blissful. affirms the Personal God but tends to deny or ignore the Impersonal. just as in the Personal. The devotee. . perversities & apparent selfcontradictions makes up the marvellous web of the world. but One. the Existent nothing but Existence. the Humble. nor the All-Being than Krishna or Kali. The distinction between them is a necessary convention or arrangement of His truth for world manifestation. God. the Impersonal than the Personal.428 Isha Upanishad: Part Two delight which with its changes. nor Vishnu than Shiva. Entering into world existence. — for when we enter deep into the Trinity we find only Unity since Existence is Consciousness & nothing but Consciousness. not two. the Merciful. for He alone is.

The Life Divine [Draft B] Part II The First Movement Chapter I God and Nature I The Isha Upanishad opens with a monumental phrase in which. the Eternal seated sole in all His creations with the ever-shifting Universe and its innumerable whorls and knots of motion. nor is it their original relation in the terms of being. all were created and they have no other ´ ´ reason for their existence. for purpose of existence than in nature of existence. from the God and the Titan in their dark or their luminous worlds to man and the insect that he crushes thoughtlessly under his feet. This relation of divine Inhabitant and objective dwellingplace is the fundamental truth of God and the World for life. Isha vasyam idam sarvam yat kincha ´ jagatyam jagat. God with Nature. everything is His temple and mansion. Ish is wedded with Jagati. the open householder in the mansion and for Him and His enjoyment of the multiplicity and the unity of His being. two supreme terms of existence are confronted and set forth in their real and eternal relation. For habitation by the Lord is all this. by eight brief and sufficient words. in all of which one Lord is multitudinously the Inhabitant. each of them called by us an object. This practical . everything whatsoever that is moving thing in her that moves. He is the veiled deity in the temple. It is not indeed the whole truth. it is rather relation in action than in being. From the brilliant suns to the rose and the grain of dust.

The indwelling God is the Lord of His creations and not their servant or prisoner. He is the entire master of His creations. God is not bound. — in this instance the object of habitation. starting forward at once to meet us in this opening vibration of the Seer’s high strain of thought.430 Isha Upanishad: Part Two relation of the Soul to its world thus selected by the Seer as his starting point is from the beginning and with the most striking emphasis affirmed as a relation not of coordinate equality or simple interaction but of lordship and freedom on one side. For not only does it contradict at once all mechanical theories of the Universe and assert the pre-existence. use & subordination rather than identity. of instrumentality on the other. but by identifying the Spirit in the universe with the Spirit in all bodies. since it is the object of the Upanishad to build up a practical rule of life here in the Brahman rather than a metaphysical philosophy for the satisfaction of the intellect. is not a material shell in which Spirit is bound. omnipotence. but free & Lord. The very universe itself It is free to destroy and recreate. The grammatical form in ´ vasyam expresses a purpose or object which has to be fulfilled. the Seer of the Upanishad selects inevitably the practical rather than the essential relation of God & the world as the starting point of his thought. the choice of the ´ word Isha implies an absolute control and therefore an absolute freedom in that which has formed the object. For. Soul in supreme command of Nature. envisaged the purpose. it asserts what is of equal importance to . becomes the master tone of all its rhythms. ´ The word Isha. and as a householder is master of his dwelling-places to enter them and go forth from them at his will or to pull down what he has built up when it ceases to please him or be serviceable to his needs. majesty and freedom of the transcendent Soul of things within. nor is Spirit a roving breath of things ensnared to which the object it inspires is a prisonhouse. so the Spirit is free to enter or go forth from Its bodies and has power to build and destroy and rebuild whatsoever It pleases in this universe. Nature. God in untrammelled possession of His world. It is the key to all that follows in the Upanishad. not limited by anything in its nature or His nature. then.

pleasure and pain. if we would understand in its right bearing & complete suggestion the Seer’s gospel of life: — That which dwells in the body of things is God. but free — not bound to grief and death and limitation. manipulate and arrange them according to its power and pleasure. not really a slave. fixed Nature and its processes and can remould. even. inalienable and. but has moulded the body and its dharmas. may seem to forget its freedom. but even when it forgets. that the soul in man also is master. the Spirit is not the subject of its material. the seeming is only a seeming and nothing more. therefore always recoverable even in that appearance. still and unshifting in the perpetual movement of Nature. The Soul in all this and in each particular form is one. by a fixed nature of our minds and bodies. still and sempiternal. If then we seem to be bound. This is the first truth of Vedanta assumed by the Upanishad in its opening words and from this truth we must start and adhere to it always in our minds. He pervades its oceanic heavings and streamings. still and immutable. emphasising the generality of idam sarvam by the comprehensive particularity of yat kincha. by the nature of the universe. illusion of bondage. one in the multitude of its habitations. as undoubtedly we do seem. Nature is the multiplicity of God. not a prisoner. but the master. Idam sarvam yat kincha. for its own purposes. by the duality of grief and joy. but the master. He brings us at once by this expression to the Adwaitic truth in Vedanta that there is a multitude of objects in the universe. the soul in the body or in Nature is not the prisoner of its dwelling-place. The soul. God sits in the centre of this flux of the universe. the freedom is there. (it may be. eternal. the Seer has said. the user of grief and death and limitation and free to pass on from them to other and more perfect instruments. therefore it endures. Eko ’chalah sanatanah. not bound. a multitude of universes. a play at being bound. Self and Spirit. self-existent. by the chain of cause and effect or by any other chain or tie whatsoever. since never lost except in appearance. sempiternally the same in this constant ceasing and changing of forms.The Life Divine [Draft B] 431 its gospel of a divine life for humanity. or it is Lila. It is Maya.) but ´ only one soul of things and not many. Spirit is .

The hideous crawling worm or snake no less than the beautiful winged bird and the strong or gracious forms of four-footed life. noxious or vile. always present to him in his brief and concentrated thinking. In this opening phrase he limits himself to the statement of the unity of God. is something divine. not only an entire essential omnipresence of God in us & in the world. useless or nauseous. not vague. Nature is His variation. the soul in us. the divine fighter and worker. The self then of every man. darkened. This is the second general truth of Vedanta which arises inevitably from the pregnant verse of the Seer and. the dull stone and foul mire and evil-smelling gas no less than man. jagat. instrumentalised by the divine activity. If it seems to be anything else. — it is an image. for this relation in opposition is all that is immediately necessary to base the rule of divine living which it is his one object in the Upanishad to found upon a right knowledge of God & existence. Nature is His mobility. no object because it seems to us inert. whether animate or inanimate. Spirit is His fixity. the Seer waits for a later verse to arrive at them. which God has manifested in Himself for the purpose of various enjoyment in various mansions. — that is inevitably some illusion. miserable. that old man leaning on his staff. Spirit is His constant sameness.432 Isha Upanishad: Part Two His unity. We have. is only movement of Nature. this blue bird and that scarlet-eyed”. a mask. is God. must also . mean. These truths are not stated at once. therefore. We must exclude no living being because it seems to us weak. a boy and a girl. possessing and insistent. Therefore He is “this man and yonder woman. — bound. they contain in themselves and are in their secret reality the living God. abstract or elusive. are motions of the supreme Spirit. The language of the Sruti is trenchant and inexorable. but a direct and a practical omnipresence. a shape or eidolon created in the divine movement. if this Soul seems to be other than God or Spirit. to keep to the aspect of the truth here envisaged. formed by the divine self-awareness. free and self-aware. asserted in the comprehensiveness of the phrase. some freak of the divine consciousness at play with its experiences. every animal and every object. and the multiplicity and mobility of Nature. what seems is only a name and a form or.

The Life Divine [Draft B] 433 accompany us throughout our pursuit of his sense and doctrine. individual thing or form of motion. yat kincha. II This is Spirit in relation to Nature. one in multiplicity. Its universality and unity are not abrogated nor infringed. There are two terms in this brief and puissant formula. even when It presents Itself multitudinously in Its habitations as if It were many souls and so appears in the motion of Nature. is general and indicates both the resultant sum and the formative principle of all these particular existences. The second. so. mind and body. possesses and exceeds the universe. is really in his secret consciousness the universal Spirit who contains the whole universe of things and dwells as the self of all things in these myriad forms of man & bird & beast. though seeming divided. Soul is one. God is One. Self. inhabitant. the first. This creature born in a moment of time and bound in an atom of Space. Sarvam idam is Nature regarded objectively as . conscious in the unconscious. jagati and jagat. tree & earth & stone which my mind regards as outside me & other than myself. is particular and multiple and includes whatsoever is separate existence. though seeming to be bound. My ego is a creation of the Jagati in a form of mind. Spirit. free in the bound. my Self stands behind. illimitable and one and can realise its universality and unity. In the name of myself God inhabits this form of my being — but it is God that inhabits and the apparent “I” is but a centre of His personality & a knot in the infinite coilings of His active world existence. it is always universal. universe and everything that constitutes universe. jagatyam jagat. Nature in relation to Spirit is its motion and the result of its motion. recovers its unity. In all there is That which by coming out of its absorption in form of movement. As the soul in man. limited and many. is always free and can realise its freedom. master and enjoyer of all forms and movements of life. sarvam idam yat kincha. the Lord of nature and process. jagati. phenomenon and everything that exists as phenomenon. jagat.

progressing from a past of change to a future of change. all becomings or. Nature in its sum & principle is the becoming of God and in its particulars a mass of His becomings. The knowledge of the Upanishads takes its stand on this supreme distinction of Being and its Becomings. jagati is Nature regarded subjectively and essentially as that divine principle. inactive. indeterminate. self-conscious or veiled in consciousness. disintegrate or transmute itself into some other form of becoming. The soul is Atman. Spirit or God is eternal Being. another and more convenient collective term used to express all that is here defined as yat kincha jagatyam jagat. literally. but becomings of the one and only Being. being. real as becomings. Therefore every objective existence in the world and all subjective forms. flower & stone no less than the animal. it generates nothing: it is movement of energy in Existence which is active. being forms of Existence in motion. falsely valued as beings. indeed. which generates appearances of finite being and brings about phenomena of Becoming as opposed to fixed truth of Being. from the old root a. The tree. everything else is sarvabhutani. we find. yet must in its philosophical sense and especially in the Upanishads. all things that have become. which determines forms. then self. expressed in motion of being and observed by us as force or Energy. infinite. to be. This phrase is the common Sanscrit expression for created beings and though often referring in ordinary parlance to animate and self-conscious existences only. . in this Upanishad itself. still extant in Tamil. being inconstant. being always mutable and always changing. and the suffix tman.1 ´ ´ Being. — one which brings us straight to this great distinction. must change. heaven and wind and the sun and rain no less than man. are not truly different beings at all. For Existence in itself is existence in a state of repose or stillness. which expresses substance or substantial embodiment. be accepted as inclusive of all existences whether they are or seem animate or inanimate.434 Isha Upanishad: Part Two the sum of her creations. on ˆ the contrary. stands by its continued motion and if that motion were pretermitted or its rhythm disturbed. it meant. which generates all these forms and variations. invisible gas and 1 The scholars hold erroneously that Atman meant first breath. each is the result of its previous motion.

Tad ejati tannaijati. But already from the little we have said there begins to emerge clearly another truth which in the Upanishad itself the Seer leaves in shadow for the present and only shapes into clear statement in his fourth and eighth couplets. an ordered and harmonised delight. “Why has God brought about this great flux of things. then.The Life Divine [Draft B] 435 force & current no less than the things we can see and feel fall within its all-embracing formula. comes as an echo & response. but both of them equally the one sole Existence. whose this energy is and of what the universe is the motion. — therefore there is what we call universe. except delight. the world is motion of God. all our ignorant questions fall away from this supreme Vedantic conception. God is the only Being and all other existences are only His becomings. the world is God at play. Sa paryagat. law. All our inefficient envisagings of the world. Isha vasyam jagat. which moves & yet is still even in its motion. but also Nature is Spirit in motion. We cannot ask ourselves. He has no purpose in it except habitation. he emphasises in the fourth couplet the unity of Soul & Nature. not one of them Brahman and the other an illusion. for to Tad ´ ejati. the souls informing them are but one Spirit individualised in forms and forces by the play and movement of Its own self-consciousness. That moves. but are the reality of the motion as the motion itself is the play of the stillness. progression. — the language of the Upanishad shows that this was not the view of the old Vedantic Rishis. . In the eighth ı 2 verse he indicates that Brahman & the Lord are not different from each other or from the motion. the stillness & the motion are not separate from each other. this enormous and multitudinous worldmovement? what can have been His purpose in it? Or is it a law of His nature and was He under an inner compulsion to create? Who then or what compelled Him?” These questions ´ ´ fall away from the decisive & trenchant solution. the appearance of a method 2 The Mayavadins hold that God is only the first myth of Maya & not the truth of Brahman. Nature is motion of the Spirit. We see. He went abroad. anejad ekam manaso jav´yas.

436 Isha Upanishad: Part Two and a goal. Laws of Nature are themselves general movements & developments of becoming and conditions of a particular order. Since Spirit. The Laws of Evolution are themselves evolutions and progressive creations of the Spirit. God is supreme & transcendent and is not bound by state. rather. but not inexorably preexistent or recognisable as the very grain of existence. We arrive then at this farther all-important truth: — Nature is a divine motion of becoming of which Spirit is the origin. there is no compulsion on Him & none can compel Him. contained in Him. victim or instrument. they are results of the tendency to order & harmony. The laws of Nature. but the order effected feels always its neighbourhood to the grandiose licence of the infinite and the harmony achieved thrills at once with the touch of the Transcendent’s impulse to pass out of every rhythm and exceed every harmony. not sempiternal fetters on Existence. substance and control as well as the inhabitant and enjoyer. Even the most fundamental laws are only modes of activity conceived & chosen by Spirit in the universe. For this is a self-delight which in no way limits or binds Him. rhythms of the movement and not in their own being rigid. Neither is there any inner compulsion limiting Him either as to the nature of the work or its method. that He is not bound even to His own freedom. since Nature itself is a becoming. — so free is He. in the Vedic image. not He by it or proceeding from it or coeval with it and therefore capable of being its subject. is the sole existence. law or process. the motion of the universe can only take place in . He has brought it about and He conducts it in perfect freedom. transcendent and original of the universe. they are processes which regulate the harmonies of becoming. for Spirit is absolute and has no fixed or binding nature. as we have seen. rhythm and harmony of the universe. governed by Him. processes which are. proceeding from Him. The movement of the universe is not the nature of God. cannot be laws of being at all. nor are its processes the laws of God’s being. inexorable & eternal because self-existent verities. chhandas. for He alone exists and Nature is only a play of time-movement in His being.

even while I do them. & even while It is inhabitant & continent. but equally it is outside of this universe and each thing that it contains. ´ ´ Tad antar asya sarvasya tad u sarvasyasya bahyatah. indwelling but not confined. The soul in us has the inherent power not only of becoming in this outward & waking consciousness what it is in reality. movement and relation. The same essential freedom must be true of this soul in the body. Spirit is the cause. like the presence of the ether in the jar. But. divine and eternally free. has the same transcendency and the same freedom. even though it may seem to be confined in the body and compelled by Nature’s results and its own works. Spirit contains. one with God. but of transcending in consciousness all bodily relation and relation with the universe. the inexpressible Reality of things. — outside it as continent. is within this universe and each thing it contains. That. I can. self-existent. it is symbolical and a figment of divine conception rather than the essential relation of body and spirit. Na cha mam tani ´ karmani nibadhnanti. but also it is not the whole or essential truth of this mutual relation of God & Nature. as from the action of the Spirit in Nature. the same formula of freedom emerges. I am not bound by these works that I do. dwells in and transcends this body of things. in God and by God. I am not the sport and puppet . the continent of the body which seems to contain it. self-sufficient. The omnipresent Inhabitant of the world is equally its all-embracing continent. Therefore the indwelling of the Spirit in forms is not only a free indwelling rather than an imprisonment. From the action of Nature in the Spirit. change them and make them what I would have them be. If form is the vessel in which Spirit dwells. stands apart from what It inhabits and contains. says the Lord in the Gita.The Life Divine [Draft B] 437 the Spirit. essentially. Spirit is the sphere in which form exists & moves. world is the effect. The soul of man. I have. in God and by God. We get the fuller statement of the truth in the fifth couplet of the Upanishad. It acts in the world but is not bound by Its actions. It transcends form and formation. outside it as transcendent. ´ ´ but this cause is not bound to this effect. made myself and my world what we now are.

She accommodates herself to me and pretends to herself & me that she is ruling my whole existence. arrives at the perception and experience of Spirit everywhere and declares our eternal and indefeasible freedom. From this dependence by inclusion derives the great law that every form of things engendered in the motional universe shall be subject to the processes of that particular stream of movement to which it belongs. studying the Force that makes the movement and its cause. each individual mind to the general processes of mentality. when she is really following. however late.438 Isha Upanishad: Part Two of Nature and her laws. Instrument of my actions. but part of and dependent on the universal movement. observing only the movement. however. for. Every mundane existence is jagatyam jagat. not a separate and independent motion by itself. . each individual body subject to the general processes of matter. because the individual is only a whorl of motion in the general motion and its individual variation therefore can only be a speciality of the general motion and not contradictory of it. The debit side of the human ledger must be taken into the reckoning as well as the credit account. to know the inner fact and the outer possibility of our freedom. Science. III It is not enough. seeing fixed process everywhere. but their creator and her master. Vedanta. our bondage results from the action of Nature on all that she has created and contains. we must also look at and take into account the apparent actuality of our bondage. is obsessed by what she studies and declares the iron despotism of mechanical Law. the motion of my will. she pretends to be the mistress of my being. stumblingly and with feigned reluctance. each individual life to the general processes of vitality. The explanation and seed of this bondage is contained in the formula jagatyam jagat. if our freedom results from the action of Spirit in Nature and of Nature in Spirit. The identity of the soul and God behind all veils is the Vedantic charter of man’s freedom. It passes beyond the Law to the Liberty of which the Law itself is the creation & expression.

this law is of so pressing a nature that the subjection would be absolute. therefore the more general motion of Nature as representative of or nearest to that unity governs the multiple individual products of the movement. her absorption in her work and her forgetfulness of her reality. the Master. this pressure of tyrannous insistence is necessary in order that the harmony of the universe may be assured against all disturbing vibrations. The unity of God governs His multiplicity. the tree. the Buddhist’s rigid chain of causation ineffugable. continent and living transcendence of the motion. If machinery of existence were all. is bound first by Nature. then by his humanity. the principle of our freedom . God having descended into Nature. ´ ´ Avidyaya mrityum t´rtwa. of the finite against the dangerous call and attraction of the Infinite. if there were no Spirit in the motion or that Spirit were not Ish. allows Himself as part of the play to be bewitched by His female energy and seems to accept on Himself in the principle of mind isolated from the higher spiritual principles. allows itself apparently to float on the oceanic stream of Nature and envisages itself as carried away by the current. Ish wraps Himself up in jagat & seems to its own outer consciousness to be jagat. It is the bulwark of cosmos against chaos. This is the principle of our bondage. therefore. the materialist’s reign of iron Law complete. the motion of Nature is ı only the apparent or mechanical cause of our bondage. even in Nature itself a principle of freedom and a way of escape have been provided. Therefore Man.The Life Divine [Draft B] 439 The multiplicity of God in the universe is only a circumstance of His unity and is limited and governed by the unity. in reality. To each motion its law and to each inhabitant of that motion subjection to the law. Spirit veils itself from Mind. the real and essential cause arises from the relation of Spirit to Nature. origin. of the realised actuality against that inconstant & ever-pulsating material of infinite possibility out of which it started. the rock and the star each to its kind and man to humanity. The soul in mind identifies itself with its form. But because God is also the transcendence of Nature & Nature moves towards God. Spirit cast itself out in motion. For. therefore the animal belongs to its species. This generality. being human in Nature.

God and Nature are one Brahman. in the subjective and in the objective. Incidentally. by the chain of particular cause and effect. becomes more & more Ish and can more and more control the processes of becoming in himself and in others. this consummation has been constantly praised and held up before us in this country as the highest ideal of man and his only path to salvation. Ever since Buddhism conquered Vedic India and assured the definite enthronement of the ideal of Sannyasa in opposition to the ideal of Tyaga. yet for the majority of men it must still & always remain God’s ultimate purpose in them to realise Him manifest in the world. that is to say. it can get rid of this appearance and recover its lordship and freedom. — & not only & exclusively unmanifest in His transcendental stillness. appears to be bound by the process of becoming as if it were law of being. the Infinity & the cessation of all this divine play of motion. Brahman and the Universe. Man must be able to find in Nature itself and in his humanity a way of escape into divinity & ´ ´ freedom from Nature. the natural chain of active energy and its results. This final conclusion of freedom & power in the world is of the last importance for our immediate purpose. absorbed in the motion and process of Nature. the one real and the other false or non-existent. But even if for the few this goal be admitted. It must be possible then to find God as freedom & immortality in the world and not only aloof from the world. But by drawing back upon itself & ceasing to identify itself with its form. were two hostile & incompatible entities. — since that is His purpose in manifestation. Spirit. it is therefore said to be bound by Karma. There must be a way of escape provided in Nature itself out of our bondage to Nature. Merely to draw back from all identification with form is to draw away towards the Stillness. the soul of Man by drawing more and more towards God. therefore there must always be a point at . in the mental and in the material world.440 Isha Upanishad: Part Two is to draw back from that absorption & recover our real selfconsciousness as the containing. constituting and transcendent Spirit. But Spirit and Universe. avidyaya mrityum t´rtwa. This would not ı be possible if God and Nature.

this bridge of reconciliation was discovered in the two supramental principles. so the old Vedantic Yogins. analysed. Ideal Consciousness & Bliss Consciousness. both of them disengaged from the confusions of the mind involved in matter.The Life Divine [Draft B] 441 which the two meet. not satisfied with observing the surface activities and ordinary processes of our subjective nature. analysed. life & mind. pressing yet farther towards the boundaries of existence they discovered whence this energy proceeded & whitherward this stir and movement tended & worked. Just as modern Scientists. groping and striving mind & life which only fumble after right knowledge & labour after the right use of power & even attaining them can possess & wield them only as indirect & secondhand agents. In the profound analysis of the human soul built by the ancient Vedantic thinkers upon the most penetrating selfobservation and the most daring & far-reaching psychological experiments. vijnana. disengaged & used it for the lighting of our houses & thoroughfares. for the driving of our engines & printing presses. discovered hidden forces & extraordinary activities. not satisfied with the ordinary processes & utilities of Nature. not satisfied with Nature’s obvious use of wind as a locomotive force. They found beyond the manifest & obvious triple bond of body. for the alleviation of disease or for the judicial murder of our fellow-creatures. this point of escape. penetrated further. probed. not satisfied with observing the power of electricity in the glare & leap of the thunderflash. discovered hidden forces & extraordinary activities by which our whole active mentality could be manipulated and rearranged as one manipulates a machine or rearranges a set of levers. which . probed. found & harnessed the unutilised propulsive energy of steam. they discovered a principle of ideal consciousness. their apparent divergence in consciousness must be somewhere corrected in consciousness. Nature must at some point become God and the apparently material Universe stand revealed as Spirit. not satisfied with the observation of her surface forces & daily activities. penetrated further. two secret states & powers of consciousness which supported them in their works — beyond this limited.

seven worlds. right awareness & right action as the very self-atmosphere of its manifestation in the universe. in the language of their thought. every mind the processes of mentality. every life the processes of vitality. life & mind (Annam Prana Manas). Earth. It is because we miss these clues that so much in these scriptures comes to our mind as a mystery or even as a vague & confused extravagance of disordered mysticism.442 Isha Upanishad: Part Two saw Truth face to face & unerringly. Chit. as its throne of world rule. right joy. the least in plenitude & power & joy of these seven divine rivers. prajah. bhutani. The seven worlds are indeed different kingdoms. It is the key to their sense in many passages where there is no direct mention or precise reference to any of its seven terms. looking on the sun with unshaded eyes. was the footing & pedestal of the human unit. being arranged in seven stairs. the home & fortress of the divine Master. each with its ´ ´ ´ own nations & creatures. and a principle of all-blissful power & being which possessed in itself. every ideal being the processes of ideality and every free soul the processes of Beatitude. But since God is . Force & Bliss (Sat. Above this inferior trilogy of matter. In this septuple system of our Scriptures every individual body obeys the laws of matter. but the heavens of Ananda concealed the secret & ungrasped crown of his world-existence. by the very right of its eternal existence & inalienable nature. Man they saw as a soul dwelling in matter. there is a superior trilogy of Infinite Being. Ananda) accessible to us & working on us inhabitants of the lower spheres from the symbol of divine beatific consciousness. then. and employing as its distributing & arranging minister the truth-seeing ideal mind to feed. seven bodies of things. supply & compel the activities of the lower being. seven streams of world movement. They saw this material consciousness & this material world as the lowest stair. seven states of consciousness which inform & contain the bodies. They saw. This conception of the sevenfold form of our being & of world-being helps to constitute the very kernel of the doctrine in the Upanishads. the Anandatattwa. deriving his activities from mind & holding them in mind but going back in the roots of his being to the divine trilogy.

since this mental being is really a soul imprisoned in mind. “Each motion contains a tendency towards the motion above it and to each type of becoming. Mind in vitalised body to be released into Pure Idea. moreover. so. each separate motion contains in itself the presence and potentiality of all the others. The mould and process of Ananda . For this reason Matter in the world tends to manifest Life. but. since it contains the potentiality. Life in Matter to rise into Mind. freer & larger scale of becoming which is immediately above it. it is irresistibly led to develop under its own conditions that which it contains. therefore. it is crossed by a higher upward and liberating movement which leads the becoming we now are to strive for development towards that other.” In this complex arrangement of Nature where is man’s exact position? He is a mental being housed in a vitalised body & he tends through pure idea towards divine beatitude. but still governs them and would find its own liberation and theirs in the perfect conquest of life & matter by mind. no longer obeys the processes of matter only. “To each motion its law & to each inhabitant of the motion subjection to the law” is crossed and corrected by this other principle. The pervading law. there comes in the progress of time the impulse to strain beyond the mould it has realised to that which is higher than itself. which confines each species to the rule of its kind is only one general rhythm of the movement. therefore.The Life Divine [Draft B] 443 always one. its perfect liberation comes by rising out of the mould of mind through pure idea into beatitude. The principle. limited and hampered by vital & bodily processes. Pure Idea in matter-housed Mind to be consummated in divine Beatitude. just as mind in a life body is affected. escaping into beatitude. appears & constitutes the rule of our freedom as the other was the rule of our servitude. Now just as matter informed with life. is also affected by them and finds its complete liberation in the conquest of matter by life. this mental existence is able to liberate the whole lower system of being by renewing every part of it in the mould and subjecting every part of it to the process of that which we have now become. even while it affects life-processes. This fresh rule of Nature. then.

but one with the indivisible Spirit. unbound by His divisibility. because we are there a whorl of its motion. the sum of a divine beatific existence which we put on by rising out of mental ego into infinite Ananda. God shows Himself in humanity and man realises himself as divine. the burning and enlightening ´ Surya. wrestling with limitations. The object of life is self-liberation. then a state of Nature which is a state of bondage. in the Vedic symbol. its knot is in mentality. is convicted of being only a temporary mask and a divinely willed starting-point for the Energy confined in the triple bonds of mortal Mind. The motion of pure Idea. our real freedom governs and uses consciously our apparent bondage. vijnana. God in Nature. God the Spirit. weds the One to the Many in the play of His consciousness. therefore. atmanam sarvabhuteshu. unbound by His indivisibility. In Nature we are bound in our consciousness. the bliss of Transcendence joins hands with the bliss of manifestation. is the door of our escape in Avidya. We are a double birth. are the laws of being. There God and Nature meet. The joy of that reconciliation dwells in the Immortality to which the Vedanta is our guide and its starting point is the recognition by mind of the one Lord in all bodies. But this double is really biune. God. its escape into divine Bliss. a wave in its sea. the prophetic Apollo. the only aim of human existence consistent with the dignity and . sorrow-pursued. The base of our being is in Matter. for it is the kingdom within us of Truth and Illumination. the one ´ ´ ´ Spiritual Being in all becomings. of the god of the Sun. Sa no dhiyah prachodayat. death-besieged.444 Isha Upanishad: Part Two is freedom. Ish and Jagat. bliss. God. Our aim as human beings must be to rise through the pure Idea into divine bliss and there freed from mental egoism & vital and material limitations spiritualise and beatify our whole existence from the base to the summit. & these. for there we are a part of nothing. domain. in His ineffable beatitude. in Spirit we are free. the dharmas. universality. Vidya and Avidya embrace each other. Life & Matter to work out its own immortal freedom. Since it is the all-blissful Lord who dwells within and Nature is for His habitation and enjoyment. immortality.

´ ´ ´ Avidyaya mrityum t´rtwa vidyayamritam asnute. they must then have been all the time inherent & involved in matter. We observe next that in proportion as life develops in matter. (2) Consciousness is the principle of freedom. life & matter are. (3) Consciousness and life evolve out of matter. freedom and immortality. if unconscious self-adaptation manifests & increases in her workings. form is the principle of law. principle of process & mode of working.The Life Divine [Draft B] 445 fullness of our being is the escape through Nature to God. From this we arrive easily at certain large corollaries. It is therefore conceivable that matter itself may be only a form of involved consciousness. seems to be related to the above section. out of grief.] In our observation of the workings of law & freedom in cosmic Nature we cannot fail to be struck by the principle of gradated and progressive freedom by which she climbs up from an apparent rigidity of law to an apparent elasticity of freedom. . ı APPENDIX [The following passage. one essence. of flexible adaptability. the principle of variation. We observe that matter inert or informed only by an inert principle of motion is the field of rigid law & of fixed process. in all probability. They are three different principles of Nature. but not one principle. written on a loose sheet. even of instinctive. bondage & death into joy. the necessity of dealing with the rigidity of form and its processes is the cause of the limitations of the freedom inherent in consciousness. (4) Life itself seems to be an operation of involved consciousness working itself out of the imprisonment in matter. We observe that in proportion as mind develops in living matter this variation. (1) Mind. this flexibility & self-adaptation grow into a conscious struggle with & partial domination of the life & matter in which mind operates. each with its separate rhythm.

In Matter we do not observe sensation. action-comprehension. but we do observe the other common activities of Nature. reaction. If such a free consciousness exists. there must be a principle in Nature superior to mind as mind is superior to life & matter & this can be nothing else than the Vedic principle called vijnana. We cannot assert that the present state of consciousness [which is] the consciousness of limited freedom & derived knowledge in man is the last possible evolution of consciousness. — values of involved consciousness. reaction. In Life we notice in the plant & metal a vital sensation. must be a power of cosmic Nature & cannot be acquired by the individual except by breaking down the habits of consciousness & exceeding the fixed processes by which the individual action is separated & differentiated from cosmic action. essentially the same as the mental but expressed in a different system of values.446 Isha Upanishad: Part Two (5) Mind is a principle of mental self-conscious sensation. We may say therefore that the essence of consciousness is at least present in matter. This free consciousness. The ultimate evolution must therefore end in the openness of the individual for cosmic or infinite consciousness-being. through life in mind. entire mastery. attraction-repulsion rising into a luminosity (prakasha) we call knowledge of which thought is only the partial system or formula. It is at least possible that an entirely free consciousness bringing with it a spontaneous instead of a derived knowledge & an entirely free mastery instead of a partially free manipulation of mind. life & matter is concealed in Nature & its unveiling is the final goal of her evolution. the workings of free infinite . action-comprehension. attraction-repulsion. not limited by individual ego-sense. Experimental Yogic psychists assert that matter does also receive & store blind sensations & that the mind of man can discover records of past events in material objects & convert them into values of knowledge. but it only organises itself by evolution. Science even goes so far as to assert that all sensations are an activity of matter & are stored in the brain & can always be turned by memory under some stimulus into values of knowledge.

but if we accept the Vedantic premise that all world is only a formation & operation of consciousness. So much we can reasonably infer from the facts of the cosmos as we see them. We then arrive at the Vedanta results without starting from Vedanta. not limited by individual will. The highest state of Nature & goal of evolution must be infinite Sacchidananda.The Life Divine [Draft B] 447 cosmic force. knowledge & mastery it must be in its nature an infinite joy & bliss in oneself & in all the cosmic workings which enter into our experience. . these inferences become inevitable conclusions. possessing entire freedom.

grief. This human being though he lays hold on intellect as a guide and aspires to ideality and spirit. besieged by the nerves and body. with equal brevity. freedom and bondage. his short span of life & circumscribed sphere of . emotional. they add much thought that is necessary to avoid error. the appearance of material bondage and the means of escape out of the appearance and into the reality. with equal suggestiveness the consummation of the whole thought of the Upanishad. not intellectual or ideal. are intellectual. and the practical aspect of his own problem is not limitation or infinity. His mentality is. sorrow and suffering and the possibility of escape from these his ruthless and omnipresent persecutors. ideal or spiritual terms. All the underlying Vedantic conceptions which we have had to bring out in our first chapter. does not live centred in those superior movements of consciousness. but he lives in the heart & lives in it. The rest of the eighteen shlokas fill out. He could even be content for a while with death and limitation if. therefore. too. play variations. brain leads his thought when it can.448 Isha Upanishad: Part Two Chapter II The Golden Rule of Living — Enjoyment & Renunciation The first line of the Seer’s first couplet has given us very briefly and suggestively the base & starting point of the whole thought of the Upanishad. out of Nature into God. But these expressions. the second line of the same couplet opens to us. out of matter into Spirit. but all the practical need of man and the central gist of the Seer’s thought about human life is compressed into these two lines with their few brief words and their thousand echoes. to perceive supplementary and collateral truths or to guide oneself aright in the path that has been hewn out or to walk with unstumbling footsteps through the doors that have been opened to us. but the pressure of pain. complete. sensational and temperamental. have had reference to the three great practical factors of the human problem as it presented itself to Vedantic thinkers. free from this admixture of pain & suffering. the reality of spiritual freedom.

the Lord. blissful and immortal.The Life Divine [Draft B] 449 action could be assured of that limited happiness which the race at large is vainly pursuing. rather than the remoter essential relation. death and limitation. bound not to renounce that apparently impossible ideal on peril of forfeiting our highest. pain. God and Nature one Brahman. we must renounce the world in order to find and possess God. anityam asukham ´ imam lokam prapya. It is because it provides the true practical basis for the solution he is going to suggest that he has preferred to announce at the outset the immediate and active relation of our twofold existence. then. most consoling and most exalting impulses. bhajaswa Mam. God inhabiting Nature. im´ mediately points out the remedy. arrived in this transient ´ and troubled world. For the first practical step towards freedom must always be to distinguish between the Inhabitant and the habitation and withdraw from the motion towards the Lord of the motion. the heavenly door of renunciation and the silent and blindly luminous haven of Nirvana. to escape from the insistent pain. It was the agony of this problem that seized on Buddha and drove him from his kingly home & rich domestic joys to wander through the world as a beggar and ascetic. in ordinary religious parlance. after describing our condition. It is in the motion that these shadows of limitation. But the world was made by its Lord for . the Inhabitant is free. grief and suffering of the world the Lord of Pity discovered for man the eightfold path. how are we to reconcile this ineffugable contradiction or to escape from this unending struggle? This is the problem which the Seer solves in three brief words. samahita. the law of compassion & self-sacrifice. for he proceeds not from pity. grief and death appear. So also the Gita. anityam asukham imam lokam prapya. perceiving the ´ problem but not overpowered by it. yet irresistibly impelled by Nature to aspire after joy. Dwelling ı in a world of grief. we must turn from the world to the Master of the world. tena tyaktena bhunj´thah. but from a clear strength and a steady knowledge. again a monuı ´ mental phrase whose echoes travel the whole of existence. immortality and freedom. To escape. The Seer of the Upanishad sets before himself the same problem but arrives at a very different solution. Turn & cleave rather to me. dh´ra.

the other is Caesar’s movement from Dyrrhachium to [Pharsalus]. this practical corollary from the language of his first line: — To escape from grief. in amritam. the other a recoil and an aggression. and the very first word after tyaktena. the word which sets ringing from the outset the conclusive note and culminating cry of the Upanishad and is suggested again and again in jijivishet. Both solutions are heroic. the bliss must be enjoyed in this universe. freedom & immortality we must possess ourselves in the Lord. we have. Nivasishyasi mayyeva. one is a divorce.450 Isha Upanishad: Part Two divine habitation & possession. death and limitation we must renounce the world. Thou shalt dwell in Me utterly. but since His object in manifesting is habitation of the universe and not its destruction. “Abandon life. To form the basis of the rule of life which the Seer enunciates. One path culminates in Buddha. then. put away all possession & enjoyment. to enjoy bliss. such as Mayavada & monastic Christianity — and the ancient answer of Hinduism to the problem put to man by life. to bring about a confrontation of two giant opposites. through the Lord. . the other in Janaka and Srikrishna. The language of the Seer is perfectly framed. in ko mohah kah shokah. but one is a mighty heroism of difficult retreat and flight. as in the first line.” One is an escape. that said “Abandon the world that you may possess and enjoy it. Tyaktena in the instrumental case suggests a means. These say. in My illimitable being & not in a limited & mortal experience of the world. This is the difference. the word which gives the object and work of this instrument. the other a reconciliation. but to conquer and repossess it through the divine Krishna and in the supreme & all-blissful conscious being of the Lord. the other a mightier heroism of self-perfection and conquest. The one is the retreat of the Ten Thousand. the capital difference between the Buddhistic solution — with all those later solutions affected & governed by Buddhistic thought. the object of the renunciation. and not in the Lord apart from and exclusive of life in the universe. absolute asceticism is your only salvation”. cannot be to turn away utterly from the world after abandoning it in itself & in the lower consciousness. undivided from it by any other vocable or particle. therefore.

made to depend upon it as the effect depends upon the cause. Stoic and Epicurean. Spirit and world-Nature. the Lord in the motion. Had he said not “Tyaktena” but “Tyagena bhunjithah”. there would then have been no real confrontation & no great monumental phrase but only a skilful verbal turn of words pointing a contrast rather than effecting a reconciliation. to stand upon it as a statue stands upon its pedestal or the roof of a house on its foundations. Enjoyment is to be reconciled then to renunciation & even wedded to it. & the enjoyment is not the self-sufficient joy of renunciation & escape. renunciation and enjoyment. dividing us into Puritan and Pagan. no longer as now apart from Him. & perpetuating an opposition that rests on a false division of a double unity. . reconciled and eternally wedded the two apparent opposites. to enjoy His universal motion. worldling and ascetic. is the magnificent bhunjithah. so that by possessing & enjoying Him we possess and enjoy world also. The Seer has deliberately brought these two great opposites & enemies together and using a pointed and unequivocal language. Thou shouldst enjoy. have always been presented to us as the two conflicting ideals of human life & thought. tena. but the enjoyment of Spirit in the world. — all this that is moving thing in her that moves becomes the instrument of a divine delight. as he has already in the first line confronted. his aim is by a fearless and puissant confrontation to reconcile and wed them eternally to each other. from which we might have concluded that he pointed us to renunciation of the world for the enjoyment of God aloof from the world. Tyaga and bhoga. — inevitably.The Life Divine [Draft B] 451 in kalyanatamam. By means of all that is thing of world in this moving universe we are to enjoy God &. in raye. for they are the two master impulses of Nature — both of them eternal — and through the ages they have perplexed and tormented humanity by their perpetual companionship in an always unfinished and inconclusive strife. maintaining a strife that can lead to no final victory. because the world is God and part of His totality. has put them side by side no longer as enemies but as friends and mutual helpers. through Him. But the instrument of the enjoyment is not renunciation in itself and for itself but the world we have renounced.

joy of God in the form & name of things for joy of the finite appearance and the isolated idea. professing to make the complete surrender. we are to surrender everything whatsoever that we have or may hope to possess or dream of possessing in the universe. tastes. the love of those we cherish. enjoyment of God in Himself & of the world only as a symbol. honour. We are to abandon utterly the world. all that is dearest to us in our outward environment. whether held by us in possession or aimed at in our desire. country. hates. We are to keep back nothing. this reconciliation founded on a knowledge of the true nature & purpose of existence is the gospel of the Seer. that tena refers back to the expression in the first line. enjoyment the end. but renunciation of the world as mere undivine. a formal expression of God. by which the absolute unity of the Inhabitant is affirmed. home. so carefully comprehensive. Let us examine successively this renunciation and this enjoyment. mind. The reconciliation is to be effected through the consummate experience of Ananda. ignorant & fettered motion & becoming. our loves. ambitions. principles. The ascetic gospel of renunciation is incomplete by itself. children. Renunciation and enjoyment of the world must be reconciled by substituting inward for outward bliss. all. We must keep back nothing either of our outer or of our inner wealth. preferences. virtues. the bliss that goes from within outward for the pleasure which seeks to appeal from without inward. we are to renounce every least or greatest detail of phenomenal existence. first. wealth. We see. so wide. ego. We see that the demand in this second line is as sweeping and unsparing as the all-comprehensive description in its base & predecessor. Renunciation the means. ideals. wife. we consciously .452 Isha Upanishad: Part Two walls and pillars. — all that is dearest to us in our inward life. idam sarvam yat kincha jagatyam jagat. the Pagan gospel of enjoyment is incomplete by itself. position. life. success. jealousies. personality. sins. friends. the respect of men. all have to be sacrificed and laid upon a single altar. soul. the divine beatitude at which we arrive by true seeing in the ´ kingdom of the pure Idea. satyadharmena drishtya. — these and all we are. our body. opinions. fame. for if.

— stena eva sah. and to offer them up not to our mind and senses but to the Master of the Universe seated in ourselves and in ´ ´ others. — although that too is not excluded so far as it is necessary for the real surrender. but to the mind. — since it is not an outward process of flight from the objects of pleasure. yat tapasyasi. the mighty lord of all the worlds. it brings a perverse and broken result. body as part of the motion.The Life Divine [Draft B] 453 & willingly keep back one doit or farthing. — ´ ´ mithyacharah sa uchyate. we are thieves before God. senses. it can only be. an inner sacrifice to the Master of the world. must give all. vitiates the purity and effectiveness of the sacrifice. A perverse & broken movement. is an ignorant sacrifice on a false altar. yat karoshi yad 3 Gita . He is the true enjoyer of all sacrifices and works of askesis. God is All & he who would gain all. however seemingly lofty the scruple. For the natural principle of this surrender is precise: — As one gives so one receives. — conscious or half-conscious hypocrites. committing the Biblical sin of Ananias & Sapphira. the Lord.3 So long as we feel ourselves to ´ be at all separate existences from God and others. all our enjoyments. bhoktaram yajnatapasam sarvalokamaheshwaram. For this reason the Gita directs us to offer up as an utter sacrifice to the Supreme all our actions. Since there is only One Lord in multitudinous bodies & to Him the entire world belongs. to Ish. in essence. we are here as His deputies and instruments to receive out of what the world possesses so much as the Lord of the world sends or brings to us. the jagat. anyan. all our efforts. but it can never bring the supreme good or the divine bliss. But since the renunciation asked of us is not the objective renunciation. everything that is offered to the enjoyment not of the one Lord of the world. still are we imperfect sadhakas not yet having the right to grasp our crown. The final sacrifice admits of no reservation and even a slight defect of renunciation. It may be justified by the great cosmic ignorance so long as that principle of consciousness keeps its hold on us. even if the holding back be unwilled or unconscious. — and.

body and life as a passive. it insists. the ahankara. Even what we do. of all self-will and self-action. effected in the surrender to God of all desire and attachment. we are to do not for our sake. rightly or wrongly. but it goes on to the giving up into God. life & body & allow the Divine Power to use them from above. It is the sacrifice of the lower or motional parts of our being to the higher or divine part — the offering of jagat into the Lord. lives & bodies as only a varied motion of its own divine . mayi sannyasya. and of all ego-sense and separate personality. obedient and perfected instrument. Demanding nothing for ourselves. We must. above all & to the end. in this consummation. we must proceed to a yet more unsparing sacrifice. self-will & self-action cast & dissolved into the mould of a divine action of the universal Shakti or World Force (Chit or Tapas) which shall use the mind. the true sense of the inner sacrifice imposed on the seeker by the Isha Upanishad. ego-sense cast and dissolved into the mould of divine & undivided being (Sat) which regards itself as one in all things & the multiplicity of minds. but if we wish to go beyond. concentrating on the action. Desire & attachment to possessions have to be cast & dissolved into the mould of a desireless and all-possessing bliss (Ananda or Jana). wields a sword or hurls a ball to its mark. on the supreme renunciation of the ego-sense. fall perfectly passive in mind. as a man uses a machine. but for what we see. but for God’s sake. These formulae of the Gita are. but receiving for Him s ´ all that He wills to give us through the action of others or our own. in the light we have. to be His aim in us. of action itself and even the least internal or external movement towards action. The renunciation demanded of us is an inner sacrifice. as the one all-satisfying and divine sacrifice demanded by the ego-transcendent Universal Being from the ego-besieged and ego-ridden human soul. we are to refer them all to Him again for His acceptance. also. not reaching out to its fruit. This rule of life is the greatest we are capable of while still at work in the ignorance and moving subject to the dualities. sarvarambhah. not for our personal & self-regarding aims.454 Isha Upanishad: Part Two a´ nasi. The Gita begins with the sacrifice to God of our desires and the fruits of our action.

an expenditure in exercise of the strength I already have. we arrive naturally at the other term of this great reconciliation. therefore. they represent the direct. offering it into the general stream of the corresponding force or substance in the perpetual flux and movement of Nature. the enjoyment pointed at in bhunj´thah. at their hands he must seek whatever. This divine being. To understand the place ı ´ and relation of the Seer’s gospel of divine immortality & bliss in the thought and development of Hinduism. I must accept temporary loss of power. not possessing. sacrifice to God still remains its whole spirit and teaching. If it is my purpose to improve my muscular strength. unveiled and unperverted action of the free & blissful Sacchidananda. losing a little that I may gain . can neither gain what he has not nor keep what he has except by sacrifice of his personal energies & possessions into the worldsubstance & the world-energies. he desires firmly to acquire. from their store. Masters of natural forces.The Life Divine [Draft B] 455 unity. Renunciation once determined for us in its spirit & type. he is kept safe by the gods or he increases. the individual receives whatever he possesses of capacities. that great motion and complex rhythm. By expenditure of what he has. desires & enjoyments. jagatyam jagat. we must return for a moment to the fundamental Hindu idea of sacrifice. the individual. The gods. weariness and exhaustion. sacrificing to Vayu and Prithivi. To this last and supreme Immortality (Amrita) these lower mortal parts of man must be given up as the victims of a high & ultimate spiritual sacrifice in the upward movement of world-Nature. allowing it to escape as energy into the world-sum of energy. But the principle of Nature. Sacrifice to the gods was from the earliest times the central idea of the Hindu religion. For it is in the light of this original idea of sacrifice that we must understand the ancient transition from Veda to Vedanta. force & bliss constitute the higher part of man’s being centred in the principle of Ananda. stands in the harmony & interdependence of the individual & general. act in Nature under God in the motional being of the Master of all and distribute their energies to individual movements and creatures. under the name of renunciation. I must first consent to an output.

we leave Veda to arrive at Vedanta or. but God Himself & the world with all these things in them as trifles and playthings for the soul to enjoy as God enjoys. the dhanani of the Rigveda. The rule. There is a common agreement in the different schools of Hinduism that to the man who has renounced. Then we are no longer content to sacrifice this or that possession. giving a share. yielding up on the highest of all altars all that we are and possess. — param sreyah. doubled. receiving our due sacrifice. Varuna or Mitra. making reservations. so it is in our mental & emotional being. this is God’s universal law of sacrifice. holds good with all internal & external possessions and holdings. sacrificing to Mitra. Indra. doubled. Renunciation of some kind. give us the partial gains & enjoyments which come within their jurisdiction. gives us Himself and in Himself everything that exists in Nature or beyond it. is the condition of all growth and all existence. being fundamental & universal. nor cattle nor horses nor lands nor empire. I must pour love from myself in feeling & action into the world-stream of love. but offer unreservedly & unconditionally the supreme sacrifice. possessing them and yet not possessing. too.” Attaining the supreme good we pass beyond the gods and come to God. The gods who are Powers of Nature. rather. God gives Himself in return for his renunciation. returned increased. trebled. we give no longer to Agni. but to the supreme & universal ´ ´ Lord. then only what I have given may return to me increased. God. Then. voluntary or involuntary. if the sacrifice has been properly conducted. trebled or even decupled to the giver. fostering each other ye shall attain the supreme good. by renunciation enjoyment. “and let those gods foster you. by expenditure acquisition.” says the Gita. not joys nor powers nor brilliances nor capacities. decupled in the love and affection of others or in my own enlarged capacity for loving. fulfil Veda in Vedanta. what I have given is taken up by the deities in the Jagati and.456 Isha Upanishad: Part Two more. our difficulty has been . wholly unbound by possession. then. receiving our due sacrifice. we receive in return not wealth. bhoktaram yajnatapasam. “Foster by sacrifice the gods. As it is in our physical. by sacrifice security.

in the Spirit and in the world. Agni. Brahman. Some aspire to the Pure & Bright Stillness beyond. Even as a man approaches me. Ye yatha mam prapadyante tans ´ tathaiva bhajamyaham. the supreme & absolute Personality. but for our soul experience to embrace them all in a multiple & blissful unity. by God above Nature and by Nature in God. The reason of these differences lies in our human variation of temperament — for we live in heart and temperament — and therefore of knowledge and approach — for with us mental being seated in the heart temperament determines our knowledge & action. The spirit in which the Seer would have us approach the Lord. precisely in that spirit & in that ´ ´ ´ way I accept and possess him. In this . by some principle in Avidya itself that we are moved to exceed Avidya. Everywhere he reconciles. seeking to understand and not to divide. he believes therefore that we receive in return for renunciation release from phenomena and the bliss of the unconditioned Brahman. everywhere he includes. Sachchidananda. the triple Purusha.The Life Divine [Draft B] 457 to settle among our many conflicting conceptions what that is in soul existence which God intends to reveal as His very self and to what. Krishna or Kali. Ishwara. attempt to acquire & feel Him here in a superior & divine power and mastery. According to our nature we seek God. It is always. therefore. Surya. the Bright and Pure Stillness. in fact. yet others would have God in Himself and yet God playing also in His garden of the universe. of Jagati. not that we may accept one and exclude others. — variations produced by the differently distributed motion in us of Prakriti. as the unity and as the multiplicity. others like the Tantriks. seeing Him as Universal Power. — successively he presents to us in the course of his thought these names. The devotee sees Him in divine Personality. is an all-embracing universality and the way he chooses for us is to embrace the all-blissful One in the world and in transcendence of the world. aspects or images of the Eternal. through Vidya & through Avidya. The ascetic sees Him in impersonal Being and actionless peace. he hopes to get. of the process of our world-nature. in return for what he offers. Shiva or Rama. we are called to aspire. the Life-principle Matariswan. says the Gita.

We shall enjoy God in & through His universal manifestation. for the liberated soul. apart from God and different from Him. subjectively. But in these initial couplets the Seer is insisting especially on a divine life in this world. the law of divisibility and opposition ceases when we have shaken from our necks His leaden yoke of Avidya. books and poetry and learning and science. Why should we refuse to God in ourselves any form of His divine sweetness? There is no dragon watching at the gates of God to deny to us any of the fruits of Paradise. the object of the enjoyment. All that we have renounced to Him. To the liberated soul there is no high and base. by the whole universe and all that it contains. but only one equal divine bliss and perfection. action and struggle. instrument and medium of a divine enjoyment. The possession of God in the world-transcending height of His being does not exclude possession of God in His worldcontaining wideness. iha. when renounced. as the necessary basis of the fulfilment which is held in store for us at the end of the utter & perfect sacrifice. man and woman and children and land and houses and gold and silver and oxen and raiment. possessed through a man’s senses so far as God in him accepts their action and in a man’s soul by sympathy and identity with all beings & with universal Nature. the true object of all bhoga. removal from universe is not prescribed as a necessary condition before we can take possession of the supreme & ineffable bliss of the Brahman. thought and knowledge. these things will always remain the instrument of enjoyment. by all that he keeps for us or gives back to us physically during and after the discipline of renunciation. the rose and the breeze and the moonlight. — not Nature. Still. mind. to become the material. bird and beast & human being. objectively.458 Isha Upanishad: Part Two world he gives us the supreme felicity and in that world our joy shall not be other. although God in Nature & through Nature. body and life are. is God. In the ideal of the Seer we do not cast away life and mind and body into an eternal sleep. The Seer asserts on the contrary a liberated bliss in the world and . but always God and never the universe falsely experienced as a thing existent & enjoyable for its own sake.

must be attracted to them. perfectly valid. the supreme principle of the active universe. there must also be as its companion grief in the world. The most powerful support and argument of purely ascetic philosophies is the Buddhistic idea. or else the freedom from attraction is so difficult and so rare that it is presumptuous to reckon on it as a practical possibility. They are perfectly true in the field where they apply but they apply only in the limits of mind & so long as the soul is subjected in the world to mind and its processes. but. pleasure & pain. without divine aid. “He whose Self has become all existences. how shall he be deluded. falsely. These are the fundamental ideas of Asceticism and if they were true with this scope and this force. It is only true that mind is the present centre of humanity & to humanity therefore seems. it is thought. in Samadhi the spirit is blissful & free. The soul handling objects. the foundation of error. whether Nihil or Nirvana. It is no doubt extremely difficult. although generally held and insisted on by numbers of great saints and lofty thinkers.The Life Divine [Draft B] 459 in human life. But it is not a fact that mind is the supreme principle in the world and its movement & processes the dominant & ineffugable motion and process of the universe. which is the . they are an instance of partial truths. yet to remain superior to the mental duality of joy & grief. that true freedom and true bliss are impossible in the universe and can only become possible if we escape out of it into some world-shunning secrecy of being. so rings his cry of triumphant freedom. for unmixed bliss is only possible where mind and its laws are excluded. carried in practice beyond their province and so by a false extension becoming. whence shall he have grief”. the very foundations of the thought in the Isha Upanishad would be vitiated and annulled. foreign to Vedic Hinduism. even perfectly general in their own province. for man to escape from mind & living in the world. the duality of pain & grief is an irrevocable law of the universe and where there is bliss in the world. it does not run “He whose Self is dead to the knowledge of all becomings”. like all exaggerated truths. awaking from Samadhi it is bound to feel or be always susceptible to touches of limitation and of grief.

and not only the Isha but the Taittiriya & other Upanishads. therefore. liberated in Ananda. The difficulty of the escape is the justification of Sannyasa. The kingdom of heaven imposes the will of God on the kingdom of earth. which would be a laborious & improbable achievement. our purposes and activities also must be purposes & activities of unmixed bliss. but to raise ourselves beyond mind through Surya or pure Idea into Ananda and live centred in that principle. Rising to Ananda. yet govern our use of a subject and no longer rebellious mind. The soul seated in Ananda. there is no such peril. for coming out of that sure refuge & retreat. If we are released only on the levels of mind. in the mountain citadel of our existence. imperial. seated free. But since the principle of the superior movement is unmixed bliss. possesses as its dominant principle unmixed . we can. is not only possible. we are again naked in mind and exposed to the efforts of mind to recover its natural supremacy in its own kingdom. From this superior centre. remaining in the universe. Prana and Annam. then indeed sleep of Samadhi is our one safe & perfect state. even though it lives the life of the universe. Samrat. the parardha takes possession of the aparardha. to the Buddhistic declaration of the omnipresence of grief & pain outside Nirvana. the supreme principle is Sat working out through Chit in Ananda. In opposition. not to dwell in mind untouched by its laws. The superior movement then controls and uses the lower for its own purposes. life & body by the process and laws of our blissful spirit and our divine Nature. The Upanishads demand of us. Infinite Being working out through Infinite Force in Infinite Beatitude. But the escape. Swarat. though difficult. ´ evam twayi nanyatheto’sti. It is possible because the supreme principle and movement of the universe is not mind. we have in the Vedanta the soul’s declaration of its ultimate & eternal independence: — To live in the world is not necessarily to live in the duality of grief and joy. Sacchidananda seizes & revels in the ecstasies of a liberated Manas. living in Ananda. it is the one real road to our selffulfilment as the human type of God-existence upon this earth.460 Isha Upanishad: Part Two ordinary law of our mundane existence.

deficiency and pain. pleasure which was even at its highest impure and haunted. indulged in life and the things of the life. after renunciation we perceive in the object & receive from it the immeasurable bliss eternally seated in ourselves. but in eternal possession. not a poem but God in the beauty of sound and the beauty of words. but God in taste and in vital satisfaction. satisfying and perfect as God Himself. pleasure which was transient. not in the satisfaction of desire. pleasure which was uncertain. life & body. not as anish. has become after renunciation bliss. Before renunciation. know with a silent & inexpressible rapture. pleasure which was uneven. already possessing all that the world contains. the alteration & seizing revolution. have afterwards enjoyed God in the universe after renunciation. struggling to gain possession of what does not belong to us. after renunciation we enjoy desirelessly. the immense and ineffable change. only what the greedy . mutable and fading. That which before renunciation was pleasure. has become bliss lasting and inalienable. because dependent on circumstances & objects. the seated sublimity and all-penetrating intensity of that bliss of the Brahman towards which the Upanishad points our faltering and doubt-besieged footsteps. but as ish. strained towards preferences. Those who have attempted to enjoy the universe before renunciation and. held with difficulty and insecurely against a background of loss. as instruments of God-enjoyment without enduring the dominion of their dualities.The Life Divine [Draft B] 461 bliss and can use in this world & this human life mind. Before renunciation we besought objects to yield us a petty joy we did not ourselves possess. Before renunciation we enjoyed Nature ignorantly as a thing in itself and we worshipped mind and the things of the mind. but God in colour and petal and perfume. after renunciation we enjoy with knowledge. these truths are a matter of experience. escaping from that error & delusion. balanced by dislikes. seeking and effort. know. not food. has become bliss equal and universal. Before renunciation we enjoyed. has become bliss self-existent and secure. For the rest. sarvam idam. not the rose. has become bliss pure. followed after body and the things of the body. with egoism. we enjoyed with desire.

all that others possess and all that none but God possesses. all that we outwardly possess. bhunj´thah. — the bliss of the Lord’s pure being in His self-existence beyond and above the motion of the universe.462 Isha Upanishad: Part Two but easily tired mind and senses could grasp. limited and selfish enjoyment. we enjoyed before renunciation many separate things all of a limited pleasurableness. Finally. — for that transcendence is the condition of this secure universality. possessing for ourselves and that too only with our own lame. after renunciation we enjoy one thing in its multiplicity which is all-blissful everywhere. Such is the enjoyment in the world to which the Seer points us in the word. after renunciation we enjoy. and we have ı ´ always in addition. and we enjoy it not only with our own enjoyment but with the individual and collective enjoyment of all our fellow beings animate and inanimate and with the divine enjoyment of God in the universe. without ego-sense. .

they left the care of ethics to other Shastras. 463 Immediately after this great fundamental reconciliation.The Life Divine [Draft B] Chapter III The Golden Rule of Life — Desire. Troubling themselves little with the management of conduct & feeling always for the springs of life & action. but the Vedanta rejects all mere balancing and arrangement. The Vedic thinkers went straight towards the soul and an inner rebirth. simply ethical in their intention. ´ “Lust not after any man’s possession. like Greek epic & Jewish scripture. the Seer proceeds to a phrase which under a form of familiar commonness conceals an immoderate wealth of spiritual suggestion.” Ma gridhah kasyaswid dhanam. We seem to have stumbled out of deep and strange waters into a very familiar shallow. But the Upanishads are never. The Greeks sought always for a rule of moral training & selfdiscipline. Their transcendence of the ethical plane is part of their profounder observation of life & soul-experience. and both aimed at an ethical balance of mind or an ethical balance of action. a complete revolution & renovation of the soul was its demand on the inner life of man. neglecting comparatively the regulation of temperament. if any. this closing cadence of the Seer’s opening sloka would suggest only a commonplace ethical suggestion identical in form & spirit with the last of the Mosaic commandments. Read superficially and without an eye to the words that precede or to the whole serried thought of the Upanishad. Egoism and Possession Ma gridhah kasyaswid dhanam. — just as read superficially and apart from the coherent & interwoven thought of the Upanishad tyaktena bhunj´thah need not ı ´ go beyond a rule of moral self-discipline in which the aim of the Epicurean finds itself married to the method of the Stoic. the Mosaic Law imposed always a rule of outward conduct. A radical change of outlook on life was their motive force for the change. of outward conduct. they .

understood as an ordinary ethical rule. all moreover obey an unexpressed central unity which once grasped. Is there here the indication of such a preliminary ethical selfpreparation? No. The ethical rule against covetousness is an ordinary human rule and stands on a strong affirmation of the ego-sense & it has no meaning in a gospel of divine life & universal consciousness. would be a contradiction and not an affirmation of the one ever-present and unifying thought of the Isha Upanishad. for it is the constant literary principle of these inspired writings that each phrase in Veda. These Judaic moral Ten Tables start from . but a rule of the inner life. all this variety exists in its own unity. illumines the whole text. when once the soul is found & the lord of the temple manifests himself.464 Isha Upanishad: Part Two searched for that within from which temperament proceeds and by which it can be automatically regulated. as in the motion of the universe itself. but without which these writings break up into a mass of disconnected thoughts. To the Vedantin the ethical stage is only important as a preliminary clearing in the jungle of desires & passions which prevents us from even attempting seriously to find our way through to the temple of the Lord. Jagat in Ish. The present phrase. When once that secret spring is touched. tending not to the confirmation but to the annulment of the ego. In this Upanishad the one central thought is multiplicity of existence unified and freed from the sense of the dividing ego. The Mosaic commandment is consistent in itself & with the spirit of the Decalogue. power & fullness of a supreme inner change. the moving Brahman in the stillness. The Seer does not allow himself for a moment either to ignore or to deny the multiple existences of the universe. but neither will he for a moment allow us to forget that all these many are really one. It would provide us with a preliminary rule of life founded upon the acceptance & not the denial of the dividing ego-sense. The phrase can only stand here. sarvabhutani in Atman. the outward life then flows spontaneously out of the sweetness. lives not to itself but goes back to all that has gone before and reaches out to all that is coming. ethics with its outer intellectual & emotional sanctions becomes superfluous. not as an ethical rule. the many Purushas in the One.

The Life Divine [Draft B] 465 an uncompromising dualism. We must indulge it [in] what we possess or can lawfully acquire. from an original acceptance of the egoistic outlook on the universe. In this Upanishad we have just had a tremendous and sweeping exclusion of all desire. The principle of the Vedanta is to make no compromise with the inner enemy. to root out the ego-sense. the perversion. our own wives. but always we must satisfy desire ethically. an inexorable demand to give up . with justice & decency. not others’ gold and silver and horses and cattle. the adikon. much more (and in the Jewish temperament entirely) it rests on the stronger & more mechanical conception of legal justice between man and man. But in Vedanta. not the wives of others. others permit us to satisfy it under severe restrictions. scold and limit desire. but would shrink from killing it as an enemy. their conception of righteousness is the straight road decreed for our walking by a personal Deity as different from His ephemeral creatures as the great eternal ocean from the soon-dried & inconsiderable puddles in a rainswept highway. jahi shatrum durasadam. shunning offence to the Lord of Righteousness. it is wholly improbable that we should have any such ethical & social preaching of the epieikes & the dikaion. allowed by some systems to extend and pasture this eternal hunger. mine and thine. our own wealth. it does not seek to annul. but rather merciless war ´ ending in its utter extinction. The particular prohibition of covetousness stands partly on the idea of the morally seemly. But the whole aim and spirit of the Vedanta is to annul. In either case. — rather altruism lives & satisfies itself by an inverse satisfaction of the ego. We are. or with the religious enthusiasm of the Jews. it proceeds. Even altruistic ethics starts from this fundamental recognition of egoism. the Greek dikaion. indeed. Except in the Vedantised teachings of the Buddha. as an unruly servant. with the sense of measure of the Greeks. Similarly ordinary ethics seeks to check. to kill. starting from the symbols I and thou. avoiding the aischron. like all ethics. its aim and business is not to get rid of the ego-sense but to regulate and check those of its fierce and disorderly movements which poison individual peace and disturb social well-being. the epieikes of the Greeks.

We could have understood if the Seer had written. abandon the desire for other men’s possessions. — but take care not to lust after other people’s property. warning or explanation of his purpose the Seer. Like all the others it is a smooth and clear surface covering many waters. “Seeing God everywhere. first of all. The moment we read the line in the light of the whole structure & thought of the Upanishad. the difficulty at once vanishes. “Abandoning the whole world. covet not any man’s possession. It is only by a strict adherence to this rule that we can really get the secret of the Upanishads. such a vicious stumble is impossible to the divine Muse.4 Thus understood in its right place as a link between this 4 I have written on this point at a perhaps disproportionate length as an example of the great care necessary in studying the Upanishads. or the suggestion of a preliminary discipline so awkwardly introduced as to break the effect of the great rule towards which it was intended to lead. “Abandon the whole world &.” Such an interjection would be either a grotesquely unneeded warning to a soul free from desire and already enjoying the whole world in a free and pure satisfaction. It is not enough to have a correct verbal rendering. or even. the real meaning of the clause emerges.” But he could not have written as it must stand now without link or clue. this great master of language & its effects. “Covet not any man’s possession. not as a separate text apart from its setting. without transition.” Even if permissible in any other style. It is incredible that immediately. reversing the order of the clauses. that he should say in effect. abandon the whole world and all it contains”. . should immediately weaken his thought & hamstring the great impulse he has created by the intrusion of a shallow and minor injunction. enjoy by the whole world. though this would be contrary to his effective & cumulative style.466 Isha Upanishad: Part Two the whole world spiritually to the Lord. In the careful structure of the Upanishad it starts naturally from the ´ ´ opening Isha vasyam and its conclusion tyaktena bhunj´thah ı ´ ´ ´ ´ ´ ´ and points forward to atmaivabhut sarvabhutani of the seventh couplet. everything must be understood in the spirit of the entire unity. abandon the whole world in Spirit that thou mayst enjoy the whole of divine existence. nay.

It is the spirit. In the words of men the letter is nothing. the supporting stress of thought & the .” “Lust not after thy neighbour’s possessions. becomings of myself. another habitation of our indwelling Self. and thou hast no righteous claim to another man’s possessions. I am I. thou thou.” The difference of ideas between the Jew & the Indian becomes at once palpable. he is thyself & in him it is thy own self that already possesses. from the consequent lust of possession. “for he is not thy neighbour other than thou. Atmaivabhut sarvabhutani. “All forms are various dwelling-places of one self. This sorrow misbegotten of desire disappears if the mind’s outlook on world can be remoulded in a form of the truth of things & not their false appearance. — for person is only persona.” says the Jewish lawgiver in effect. the sense that others are kaschid anyah and objects kasyaswid dhanam. sorrow proceeds out of desire and egoism contradicting this truth of oneness. admirably rich in suggestion. as he intended it. “for he is he.” cries the Vedantic Seer. a dramatic role of the sole & universal Personality. his is not mine. The decisive mental step to the true perception and practical sign of the true realisation is the selfless purity of the once impure & desiring heart when. if it can be made to see that these others. the thought of the Seer is seen. are not at all others. but entirely myself in the world-supporting reality. a mask. anye. but which are so possessed by us in another mind & body. “Lust not after thy neighbour’s goods.The Life Divine [Draft B] 467 starting point and the yet deferred conclusion. from the sense that he is he. but to persuade & lead us to denial of the whole attitude of egoism implied in the lusting after possessions which this particular mind & body do not in the apparent movement of Nature possess. — it has ceased to hunger & thirst after what others have in their keeping from the false idea that they are different from myself and their possessions are not already my possessions. perfectly simple & straightforward in substance. Thou hast no need for this desire & this lust. ekatwam. possessing by abandonment of desire and by realisation of the one Inhabitant in all persons & bodies. ´ ´ ´ ´ here in world.” The object of the injunction is not to accept right egosense & discourage greed as wrong ego-sense. &.

Ancient Indian thought and life regularised in teaching a practical difference which the West admits in practice and denies in theory. which is not to the discredit of our great national Scripture. Avoiding these modern pitfalls. But in the many provinces. finding Brahman in the all & ´ ´ ´ not in the part. It shows that the truth is no longer only an idea in the intellect but is being lived in the whole . we bring it down from its own heaven touching domain upon its Asiatic and Himalayan mountain tops. ethical rule and spiritual state. Let us beware lest in vindicating the claim of Vedanta to an European eminence & elevation. for it proceeds from the heart’s recognition of the truth that one Lord inhabits all bodies. anyatra dharmad anyatradharmat. we find the full and profound sense of this final phrase disengaging itself naturally by the light of its surroundings. otherwhere than in virtue and otherwhere than in unrighteousness. for the observation is needed in these days of the siege of our religion and philosophy by inadequate European conceptions. the divine oneness of mankind & the unity of all existences. it admitted three distinct standards determinant of conduct. that we have here the key to an important difference between Vedantic & Western thought. In this path the cessation from all lusting after things as the possessions of others is the sign of the dissolution of ego in the heart. Seeking always that which exceeds & includes the lower life. its rich abundance & delicacy of moral aspiration & perfection & its great spiritual altitude faithfully reflects this triple recognition. Non-ethical may be either infra-ethical or supraethical. the customary law. We need not be too sensitive to the reproach that the Vedanta is non-ethical or too eager to vindicate an ethical intention for its teachings. the mass of our pre-classical literature with its greatness of law & custom. it exceeded also the limits of ethics. & it fixed its eyes only on so much of conduct as helps us to realise the universality of God. Let me observe in passing.468 Isha Upanishad: Part Two temperament behind which give to the spoken symbol its import & its effect. its consistent search is for spiritual truth and spiritual standards. the varying levels of human conduct the Vedanta seeks always the summits.

yet ours is a mentality emmeshed in matter and impelled by that physical Maya to give a materialised or sensible value and a material expression to all our mental conceptions. Therefore tyaga. Ma gridhah. We hardly admit a truth until we see it cloaked in an outward form or in an outward event & action. is the answer to all practical difficulties that may arise from the initial teaching of the Seer. the bahyasparshah. Action is effected only as the outflow and physical symbol of mind. for although we are mental beings. the spirit centred and veiled in mind. that the self in Rama possesses. it has no inherent moral or spiritual value. The more humanity moves towards freedom & perfection. the physical renunciation. Thou shalt not have the greed of desire in thy heart. at once. what the self in Shyama ˆ owns. souls throned in mind. but to a free and perfect enjoyment? We have.The Life Divine [Draft B] 469 being. yet physical abandonment is what we usually contemplate when we use the term renunciation. — that is the practical effect of the call to renunciation. Enjoyment by the world precludes physical abandonment of the world. The possessions of the one and only Self in one body are ˆ also his possessions in all other bodies. circumference and result of mind. but is capable only of bearing such values as are put on it by the manomaya purusha. Ma gridhah. Mental beings. & gives to them a fixed & conventional mental value. What then is this new rule of abandonment which impels not to denial and cessation of world-life. that we should seek our secret of bondage and our means of deliverance. the more it will live in the mind itself. a thing without self-existent reality. the answer in this phrase of the Seer. it is in mind our centre not in matter which is to us a mere case. use outward circumstances of life & matter only as symbols of a free mental existence & fix their values by the mentality they express and not by some conventional standard determined by the action itself in its outward appearances. the inner renunciation. Humanity still imprisoned in its surroundings. servilely reflects in its mind the habitual impact of outward things. All outward material action is in itself Maya. for the latter . The exhortation to freedom from the desire of the heart. is preferable to sannyasa.

Agni Vaisvanara. tyaga is a path of fulfilment. but the truth that has to be symbolised is selflessness in God. — ekatwam anupashyatah. the only necessary renunciation is already accomplished. but the inner renunciation leads us through our real nature as mental beings. Sannyasa is a rapid road of escape for our self-accepted weakness. God’s ´ ´ pure force in man. a superfluous austerity which may be severely lofty or even gracious. then. Great spirits have yearned after Sannyasa as a symbol of inner renunciation and freedom. for our slowly-realised ´ divine strength. bodily action only a variable symbol or a theatrical demonstration. the strait and narrow road. By this road. The main intellectual difficulties opposed to the practice of renunciation disappear before this but there is also a more concrete obstacle. Bodily action is useful as a pressure on the materialised mind. But in practice some obscure obstacle interposes itself and baffles of their expected results the intellectual recognition and the emotional surge towards unity. but not freeing life for us. it reaches no better result than a temporary easing of the strings of that disastrous net in which the . To the man who lives the inner life.470 Isha Upanishad: Part Two takes resignedly account of the present weakness of humanity and its false preoccupation with body and helps indeed that weakness to pass out from itself by the extinction of active existence. but bound and divided in world-motion. in the sense of division from God and its fellows it is bound and by its realisation of oneness with God and all beings it recovers its freedom. We have this high doctrine that the soul in itself is free and God. but the better way is to act from within outwards. mind-state is all-important. not renunciation. but though it plucks at this twist and loosens that complexity. Mankind has constantly been groping for this obscure and elusive knot of our bondage. leads us to our felicity. When desire is driven from the heart. freeing us from life. not from outwards within. supatha. all other self-mortification is. takes account of our strength and teaches us to insist upon it and realise its perfection in God. Nayati raye asman. but can no longer be serviceable for the perfect aim of human existence. which is only a means towards that selflessness.

and there also must we seek for the secret of its unloosing. To get rid of ego-sense. undo that twist and you are free.The Life Divine [Draft B] 471 world-Magician has caught our labouring minds. it should be sought in the emotional part of our minds. If we had been vital beings or centred in vitality. pleasure and pain and bringing down into itself the higher formations of thought and reason makes them subservient to the same imperative emotional & sensational dualism. for the individual. the knot would have been some vital obstruction and the release dependent on a vital adjustment. particularly. there must be the knot of our bondage. “Ma gridhah. labour to get rid of desire. But our centre is mind and especially that part of mind which is sensational in its reaction to outward things & emotional in its valuation of them & in its moral response. In the midst of our unprofitable labour we hear the inspired voice and receive ´ the illuminating word of the Vedantic Seer. practically. desire and egoism slain.” All other loosening of knots is a fumbling search or an incidental labour. We get therefore this law of disciplinary practice: — Although ego-sense is the cause of the soul’s bondage. from which we have to start. and. We live in that subtle heart in us which taking up into itself the lower bodily and nervous impacts turns them into objects and media of dislike and desire. the mere intellectual rejection of ego-sense. perhaps. yet the knot of the bondage in man is in the subtle heart where his active being is centred and it consists in the emotional egoism of desire. If we had been material beings or centred in matter. Hathayoga and the conquest of the body by the physically effective Will would have been the one effective instrument. . then. the knot would have been in some material habit and the release dependent on a material adjustment. every other knot is of itself dissolved and collapses. Desire founded on egoism is the knot of your bondage. perhaps. For where the centre of our active being is. for until that liberation is accomplished. Pranayama and the conquest by the vitally effective Will of the dualities which affect the nervous life and energy of man would rather have been the true instrument of our freedom. cut through that complexity. We have seen that by our very nature as human beings. we must. the knot must be hidden somewhere in our minds.

the nodus of responsive & formative heart or temperamental mind setting in motion waves of emotional or temperamental consciousness which first forms the stuff of the others & shapes itself out as their reaction and their criticism. “I am I” cries the discriminating mind. — the nodus of sense-forming mind reactive to outward impacts. full of beautiful and noble possessions. undergoes sense of want. I can never regard it as mine. enslaved by egoism. Vedantic psychology sums up the motion of the Jagati in our mentality. although. sense of confinement. would rest in its proper circle. manas. really. & if he chose. mine is mine & not his. While desire is our counsellor. “he is he.472 Isha Upanishad: Part Two cannot be perfectly operative upon the lower mentality and the vital and bodily existence. — the complex thing we call mind. Egoistic reason turns man into a sort of monomaniac emperor self-confined & limited who fancies himself a prisoner in his single palace. has itself its cause or rather its secret essence in the ego-sense transferred from the discriminating mind to the responsive heart. the rich universe. chitta. the wide earth is freely his and all that it contains. But we are capable of excessive yearnings because we ourselves exceed our bodies & circumstances. the nodus of discriminating mind receptive and critical of these reactions. limitation would not be painful. incapable of excessive yearnings. sense of difference & is tortured by their evil emotional results. egoism enslaves its creator & descends to dominate the heart. Formed in the discriminating mind. grief would not be the reaction of our activity. We must always remember that if ego were the truth of our being. — buddhi. the cause of our pain. the nodus of egosense which centralises & relates to one mental self-idea all these functionings. Desire. The heart. We are driven by an infinite stress towards . — in a quadruple knot. The heart accepts from the discriminating mind this false limitation & delusion.” Thus discriminative ego shuts up man in his one bodily habitation and prevents him from enjoying his proper ´ estate. his is his & so long as I cannot have or take. rajyam samriddham. ahankara. pain and suffering must always be our heritage.

by sacrifice.. the ´ ´ mahat.. but for the stress of hunger. pain of . bhuma.” cries the Upanishad. pain of effort.. Hence it has this striving. that he must acquire from God or the gods. more passive & therefore more responsive. There is no abiding happiness in the small.. happiness comes by the vast & free. after the first fervent joy of struggle and partial success... animal man hardly aspires... The Self within us knows its own infinity & sees itself as the lord of its [creation] [.. “Nalpena sukham asti.. — then. sane... It is the universe.. the irritation of other men pressing upon his little share of the world & above all the stimulus of that class of beings just above him whom God has partially or entirely awakened to the beyond. brihat.. it is infinity that the hidden Angel within us seeks. this torture of pain.The Life Divine [Draft B] 473 increase... because we are ourselves elastic and really infinite. receives dimly & without understanding — for it is not its function to understand. — unless we have sought refuge in God first..... He forces it to aspire towards the greatness & infinity of the Spirit..... but to feel — the silent message. there is no real provision in this limited nature for the greater things to which man in his expansion aspires.... perhaps would not aspire at all. From the strife of this secret truth & this open falsehood desire in the heart contracts its disquieting double nature of wants terribly unlimited & capacities for enjoyment & satisfaction terribly limited & soon exhausted.. something which is soon tired of present accomplishment & possession & reaches out for something larger.. There is always something within us which is dissatisfied with the Is & gropes for the May be.] the heart.. That he must seek from the infinite. God puts the heart upon the rack of desire so that it may not be satisfied with smallness.. pain of longing. this dissatisfaction. The sound. our instruments begin to fail us. by effort. bhumna sukham asti... normal.. better or at the lowest new.... But when we strain beyond the normal circle of our energies. the pleasure we are seeking loses itself or turns into pain. The Nature-force available to the individual through his ego-centre is normally confined to the small amount of energy necessary for the maintenance of body. unease & grief. life & mind in their habitual & indispensable activities.

Physical. this jungle of dualities move & live. acting & striving under these conditions. — mind. good and bad. range or intensity he covets. vital & mental man. must always be limited in his realisation and in his best satisfactions never entirely or permanently satisfied. the journey as well as the goal would be Ananda. its standards of contacts which it can assimilate and contacts which it wishes to reject. as the forest is unseen for its trees so the fictions of mind. are & must be forbidden or opposed by his habitual capacities. The mentalised nervous energy has. but there too.474 Isha Upanishad: Part Two disappointment. too. to reckon among the links of our . beautiful and ugly. he is both fettered by his nerves and body and hedged in by the limitations of the mind itself. in art. rooted customary habits of capacity. if the ego-sense had not taken possession of our heart & reason. erects standards & hedges. We advance by suffering. He reaches towards physical. the purblind stumbler among details. We seek our infinity not only through the finite. science or literature. incapable of an universal catholicity of possession and enjoyment. till we have built up a whole system of conventional values of pleasant and unpleasant. in the quantity. fixed associations of enjoyment and fixed associations of failure in enjoyment. measures. but by insisting on the conditions of the finite & exaggerating them. — obscure from us the truth and real bliss of existence. and we have. He escapes perhaps into mind and seeks an unlimited satisfaction in the enjoyments belonging to that more elastic principle. All this pain would be unnecessary. The mentalised body. by his imprisoning & determining environment and by his constant clash with the equally outreaching egoistic desires of other men. has its own habitual standards of contacts which it can bear and contacts which it cannot or does not wish to bear. therefore we are divided between bodily pleasure and pain and those neutral sensations which conform decidedly to neither of these values. not suffering but delight. & water the tree of our growth with our blood & tears. vital and emotional satisfactions which. and in this mighty forest of conventions. pain of incapacity. though freer & better satisfied. no less. divides. therefore. attractive and repellent. The mind in sensational & vital man.

hardly it perishes by surfeit. is our only escape from present pain and our only safety from renewed suffering. Man desires illimitably because he is universal and illimitable. So has grown the huge tree of desire and its associations. because it is unegoistic. these also divided by their neutral borders. it seeks always to renew enjoyment or go beyond. The self is one in being and its nature is bliss. therefore the heart confined by ego seeks to reach out to the unity & to realise the bliss but it seeks. conventional dualistic standards of delight and false values of grief and joy. Nor is the uprooting of that upas tree a facile undertaking. pleasure and pain he has bound himself not to recognise infinite Ananda in the world. failure. — grief. through physical and emotional enjoyment in the jagat. While he persists in these conditions. for it sulks concealed in some invisible den awaiting for a treacherous or violent re-emergence and revenge. desire. not to perceive that to the secret self. he cannot satisfy his desires illimitably because egoistic self-division persuades him to limit himself to his individual mind. either. which has grown out of the seed of ego-sense in the heart and conceals that seed in every part of its flowerings and branchings. For desire does not perish easily by enjoyment. sanskaras as they are termed in our philosophies. Man desires because he is infinite Self seated in the egoridden heart. readily slain by coercion.The Life Divine [Draft B] 475 life-chain vital enjoyments & vital sufferings. life and body. Man desires with pain & weeping because by creating habitual wants. all things are delight. discontent & pain must be always his . joy and indifference are the resultant emotional responses. Based upon these standards each individual or species has built up its own system of habitual wants & cravings and its own arrangement of accumulated conventions. even those touches which to the mind and body present themselves falsely & unnecessarily as grief and pain. mistakenly. the mind has its standard of contacts with which it can harmonise itself and contacts with which it is at discord or else remains unattracted. To finish with desire altogether by attacking & destroying its seed of egosense in the heart. nor is it. Even when busy with its own proper experiences. for it revives or it seeks other objects.

if egoistic vice is the poison of his life. But still man remains universal. laws & equities. Throughout the human ages we seek an escape or a remedy. shun the world. but cannot limit himself by his supports.476 Isha Upanishad: Part Two portion. drive out the desires of this miserable earth by the desire of God and of a future world not besieged by these unsatisfied yearnings. He must recognise the Truth. She accepted the Greek ideal for a century.” is the dyke raised by society. Religion digs still deeper: “Replace many desires by one. for the Truth only can set him free. For a century or two it may serve man’s need indifferently. Asceticism digs deeper into the truth of things.” But to postpone the problem to another . egoistic virtue is not its fulfilment. others not yourself. work and enjoy as perfectly as you may within boundaries. “Recognise that you are yourself. not a solution. God in man may admit escape for the few. enjoy what you can. for He will not allow His purpose in life and world to be frustrated. observe duty and the Shastra. he breaks back towards sin and unregulated desire or forwards towards something beyond vice and virtue. “Desire what you please. discourage & punish enjoyment.” is the creed of a practical Paganism. and make a rule of life out of the moral consequences of that distinction.” is the Puritan’s law of self-repression. “Accept your limitations. but without violating my laws and conventions. but duty is only one instinct of our nature and duty satisfied cannot eradicate the need of bliss. but He denies it to the many. He supports himself on social conventions.” It is an escape.” — this is the solution of ordinary ethics. but he is infinite and universal and after a time Nature in him heaves restlessly and strains out towards its element. escape from the field of ego. but all our solutions fail because either they seek escape from the results of ego by affirming the ego or else deny or unduly limit God’s purpose in the ego. then rose up and broke it to pieces. “Desire is sinful. “flee utterly from the objects of desire. but man is a universal as well as a social unit and the societies he creates are a Procrustean bed which he moulds and remoulds without ever finding his measure. “Compromise will not do” it cries. desire only that to which you have a right.

and to desire God apart from life and not in life is to divide the unity of His being. For Truth is imperative and demands inexorably its satisfaction. It is too vast for our grasp and too slippery. By the enjoyment of the whole of universal being in God. We can possess the joy of the whole world physically. in hedged gardens. to move towards it till it is reached. — nay. but we cannot take it into our hands or permanently keep any slightest part of it in our personal possession. And the truth is always this that man is universal being seeking an universal bliss and self-realisation and cannot repose permanently on the wayside. Mind and heart desire the universe. lose their virtue and are cast away and broken. Self alone can possess it and already possesses it. mentally & emotionally only by possessing it in the Spirit and through the Spirit. by the renunciation of the attempt to enjoy through egoistic desire and in physical possession. the desire to possess its form instead of its joy. Therefore the whole secret is to shift our centre from mind and heart to the all-blissful Self. the stumbling-block in the way of fulfilment is distinguished and removed. God’s inexorable impulse in His creation. therefore the successive moulds of religion fail. therefore.The Life Divine [Draft B] 477 life is not to solve it. We can take the universe and all it contains into our self and possess it. He will indulge a few in that evasion. evasions or individual remedies. the legitimacy of the secret demand in us is recognised. we have only to reveal it to ourselves. from Jagat to Ish. or to claim it for the heart. overtopping and controlling the movement. therefore the many have to return with hearts still hungry from the doors of the temple. we need not take. to our eternal seat in the Godhead possessing. This is the aim of the Seer. All solutions that deny or conflict with our nature. or in any imperfect prison whatsoever or bounded resting place. It remains. Universal Ananda & possession is our secret nature. for it is already there. to accept the two factors of the problem in their entirety and work out a solution on the basis of a reconciliation. from our temporary place in Nature besieged by the movement. can only be palliatives. mind & body in us and not for God . but not the mass of mankind.

he will be free from grief because. but desire is its seat. the seat must be abolished. the knot cut through or loosened. indriyartham and not atmartham. Man is Anandamaya Purusha not yet or always manifested. but in course of manifestation. but its hold would be transitory. Egoism is the cause of sorrow. the Bliss. he can only escape entirely by Sannyasa.” If this reaching out to our not-selves is inevitable because . attraction and repulsion. this false conception of things is the seed of all evil. Were we to put this in modern language we should say: Man is evolutionary. he can even in this life and body manifest his true anandamaya self and become in Nature all-possessing & in life all-blissful. his present state of mentality in heart guided by reason is a transition. the Love. mine is mine. therefore thee I must control or possess. but when he evolves from the mental into the spiritual being. so long as he remains on the mental level. not evolved. he is besieged therefore by pain and limitation. to the desire-created falsehoods of the world and hold back the soul from rising to its throne in the Vastness. Chidyate hridaya-granthih. thine is thine”. living in infinite Spirit. But if he has the will. in mentality he is tied to desire. Desire binds to sorrow because it is the sentinel of egoism. “Thou art not I. Since then desire is the knot of our bondage and the seat of our sorrow. thou art thou. “I am I. In the true Vedantic view of things we must express it otherwise.478 Isha Upanishad: Part Two in heart. At present he is manomaya. therefore mine I must cling to and keep. mine is mine. tied to mind and living by desire.” For the heartstrings are the cords that bind us through emotions of love and hate. the natural Righteousness of things. says the Upanishad. The remedy therefore is to get rid of this desire of false possession and ascend into the truth of real possession. not his final nature. speaking of the state of liberation. he will have done with desire and limitation. from which. the badge of the soul’s subjection to its self-created environment and the veil of our absorption in the limited and fleeting. in body to limitation and in both to suffering. is the capital error of our egoism. therefore thine too I must acquire or seize. if there were not this compelling emotion of desire which adds. mind and body. “the knot of the heart is cut asunder. thine is not mine.

afterwards what shall be physically possessed or not possessed. Napoleon or Jenghiz. ´ Ma gridhah kasyaswid dhanam. no question of legal right or social justice. with whatever falsehood and stammering. Attila. Egoism. It is immaterial whether a particular object belongs physically to myself or another. but a godhead blind and misdirected. The Seer seeks instead to possess in the Spirit and through the Spirit. is the first element of the heart’s error that has to be eliminated. If we wish to understand the spirit of the rule. position. surrendered by me or recovered by me. if it is to effect its grandiose object. Kasyaswid in the Seer’s phrase is absolute and all-embracing like yat kincha and tena. that shall be according to the Lord’s play and pleasure. Hiranyakashipu or Ravana. “Lord. courage. is the Godhead in man aiming at self-realisation. seated in the sense of personal difference. Alexander. is kept with me or stolen from me. Whether He plays in me outwardly the part of a beggar or the . one in ´ ´ all bodies. for it breathes of the sense that there is one Lord only in all these habitations and nothing belongs to this body or to that mind or to the mental ego in which their motions are summed and coordinated.” It is not. health. but all only to the Lord. capacity. yet must it deny & transform itself.The Life Divine [Draft B] 479 our nature is a seeming particularity reaching out to its own real universality. indeed. there can be no limitation. is the Lord’s business. we may recall the example of the great Sannyasin who ran after the frightened thief with the vessels dropped in his flight. its secret sense that it is the Lord of the universe. joy. Nor does dhanam in the Vedic sense include only physical objects. cattle and houses. I knew not Thou hadst need of them. no casuistry. fame. but all possessions. The mighty Asura. — but the spirit it symbolises. — the form is a mere symbol. if desire is the sign of the soul emerging out of matter and articulating. no opposition of legitimate claims and illegitimate covetings. pardon me & take them. the form of this action that has to be observed and imitated. Isha vasyam idam sarvam. genius as well as land. The first step therefore must always be to get rid definitely of this craving for objects as the not-self in the possession of not-selves. gold. reaching out to possess the whole world physically as the not-self. crying.

fame. pursued by the false dream of non-possession. ´ a picture. It is only by shifting the motion of desire to whatever is eternal in the form and name that I can escape from this limitation and this mutability. things to be acquired. Regarding the object as not-myself. our life an insect fluttering candlewards. flux. The concentration of our vision on the form of things & in the outward motion of desire is the third element of error that has to be eliminated. I cannot fail to possess all things in myself inalienably and eternally. against circumstances. lordship. He possesses. All this is jagatyam jagat. But the principle of form and name in Nature is motion. We desire and suffer because we mistake form and name for essential existence. All the while. the essential is that I should know Him in myself and others and live seated in His being and not in my mental ego. seated in the sense of non-possession. all this is our estate. The Lord. we struggle to possess it. Therefore we have to correct our false idea of not having and. a rose. Then instead of coveting. we are anish. Subjection. is the second element that has to be eliminated. enjoying with egoism & sorrowing over loss and disappointment. But the eternal in the form & name of all objects is the eternal in myself . is not the essential. without being bound to possession or loss as are those who seek & acquire only with personal possession & through the physical body. our mind a bubble in an eddy. anavaptam avaptavyam. reputation. myself an object in Nature reaching out to objects in Nature.480 Isha Upanishad: Part Two part of a king. desiring objects. a piece of gold. shifting our centre from the anish to ´ the Ish. mutable & transient. against men. perfectly and universally. freely. Liberated in Ananda. a horse. I shall desire nothing and possess everything in myself. replace temporary acquisition by eternal possession. does not desire. an acre of land. of the philanthropist or the conqueror. the Ish. therefore my desire & enjoyment in Nature must necessarily be limited. we fix on the perishable parts of things. separation. Ma gridhah dhanam. in God and in others. we are in our souls the Lord and possess everything. we see ´ ´ things withheld. against forces of Nature in the midst of which our body is a straw in a whirlwind. not lord.

no harm intended. Once more. for material enjoyment & possession He created this world and made matter its formal basis. but all the riches of the earth are within you. The treasure you have to seek is in yourself. no possibility of sorrow experienced. On the contrary by rendering it dispensable and immaterial. Ma gridhah kasyaswid dhanam.The Life Divine [Draft B] 481 & need not be desired outside myself. since we no longer either strain after it or suffer by its absence or loss. is the musician who throws out some few forms of the infinite world within him into symbols of word or sound. it renders it also good an